How Consumer Demand Influences Food

March 15, 2016

CHICAGO – Gone are the days when packaging is just a means to protect a food product or a way to stand out on grocery store shelves. Food packages now have to accommodate societal changes. Social responsibility, trends towards less ingredients, and online grocery shopping have all changed the way the food industry makes their packaging decisions according to an article written by Claire Koelsch Sand in the March issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

Nutritional trends including more unsaturated fats, no preservatives and clean labeling are driving the need for more complex packaging systems. Foods without preservatives require packages that reduce or prevent microbial growth. Other foods with sensitive ingredients require increased protection from oxidation and moisture loss or gain. Gluten-free baked goods require specialized packaging and/or frozen storage.

The online purchasing of packaged foods is projected to increase by more than 100% over the next three years. This rise has shifted the role of food packaging from in-store marketing to being a rapid and low-cost means of product shipping, while still connecting with consumers. Products seen online need to convey freshness, size and storage requirements to consumers in an understandable way.

The food industry is responding to consumers’ desire to be socially responsible with the idea that a single consumer’s actions will make a difference. Companies are also connecting a larger worldview to what it takes to make their package and what happens to it after it’s used. For example, bottles made from non-oil-derived polyethylene terephthalate (PET) reduces the demand for oil and is completely recyclable. 

Read the article in Food Technology here.

About IFT
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit