Fresh Produce Trends: Avoiding The Bulge

lidding-salads-1000pxWhen it comes to food choices, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z are all heading in the same health conscious direction, but with different motivations. Baby Boomers and Generation X are trying to curb or reduce the bulge – that spare tire some may develop around the waistline. Meanwhile, Millennials and Generation Z are looking to completely avoid the bulge in the first place. Bottom line, we’re all looking to make healthier food choices when it comes to both meals and snacking,

If you fall into the Baby Boomer or Generation X categories, as a child the notion of your parents buying snack sized pre-cut vegetables in a single use package was absurd. Back then, fresh cut veggies certainly were NOT considered a snack - that’s what chips and candy bars were for. Your mother would likely buy the whole veggies at the super market - or pick them from the backyard garden if you were lucky enough to have one - and cut them herself to prepare as a side to a meal. Hello, Green Bean Casserole!

Thanks to modern farming practices and the 40+ hour work week, things changed over the years, and now Millennials and Generation Z are driving demand for further convenience, resulting in growth in the fresh produce and healthy snacks markets. These generations grew up in dual income households that value convenient, healthy food options at meal time and snack time. Typical “junk foods” are not a part of their daily routine - more an exception to the rule. Single-serve containers of pre-cut options readily available at a moment's notice is now a convenience they're willing to pay for. 

Whether you were born before 1982 (the end of the Generation X) or after (the beginning of Millennials), making healthier food choices accomplishes your attempt to thwart the existing bulge, or combat it from ever getting started in the first place.

As a result of this shift toward healthier food options, pre-cut produce companies have jumped into the single-serve arena with both feet as that’s where the greatest growth in their category is found. All this healthy snacking is having a profound impact on packaging requirements for these healthy food options and brands have had to adapt accordingly. 

A relatively newer trend to give consumers even more selection is packaging multiple food pairings within the same package. However, pre-cut vegetables and fruits, nuts, cheeses and crackers all sharing the same package creates a new set of challenges for freshness. If you’ve ever come across a bulging package at your local grocery store, you’ve experienced first-hand what those challenges are.

Various packaging innovations are positively affecting our avoidance of the bulge by playing an integral role in the delivery of healthy food options through the supply chain and to your grocery or online delivery service. All while maintaining peak freshness. We’ll explain how in our next installment…

Jim Woller - Outlook GroupAuthor: Jim Woller
Market Development Manager, Flexible Packaging & Folding Cartons
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