Every year, the Food Packaging Trends study helps us stay abreast of important shifts in North America’s food and beverage industry.  This year’s results reflect the impact of economic constraints on operations, as well as the importance of improving sustainability and flexibility.

Here are some of the study’s key findings:

  • Tighter belts.  45% of survey respondents reported fewer capital expenditure projects will be slated for the coming year.
  • Opportunity for differentiation.  28% of respondents are taking advantage of the poor economy to stand-out from their competitors.  By investing in high-speed production equipment, introducing new package designs, and updating graphics, these firms aim to deliver the safe, fun, portion-controlled, clean, and convenient products that consumers want.
  • Increased sustainability initiatives.  Contrary to skeptics’ predictions, concerns about recycling, material recovery, and other sustainability issues remain strong – despite the economic downturn.  Nearly half of the readers rated sustainability as an extremely or very important issue affecting their packaging operations (same as last year).  Other key sustainability concerns include:  reducing energy use and waste streams; reducing transportation costs; increasing the use of recycled content in packaging.
  • Packages that use less material, but offer more protection.  Half of organizations surveyed are reducing material use in packaging.  Prime targets include corrugated materials, and other types of dividers and inserts used in shipping.  In addition, three in five firms are innovating ways to better protect their products.  Major primary and secondary package redesign efforts aim to lower overall cost, while reducing product damage during shipping.
  • Need for increased flexibility.  This year, readers rated increased machine flexibility/changeover as the third most important issue impacting operations over the next 24 months.  To offer the product diversity consumers want, production facilities are modifying existing equipment, introducing manual functions and operations, and/or adding modular or flexible production lines.  To further enhance adaptibility, two-thirds of respondents said they use robotic systems in their finished goods areas – especially for palletizing.

Want to know more?  The comprehensive report is available from Clear Seas Research.  To order the report, contact Sarah Corp at corps@clearseasresearch.com.

Kinsa stays on top of the trends that impact your organization, your industry, and your need for talent.  Contact us today to learn how we can deliver the experienced professionals you need to stay ahead of the curve.

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