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How is packaging innovation related to millennial shoppers?

A recent article in the online magazine Packaging World caught my attention and sparked some research. It starts off like this:


ROTATE THIS PRODUCT: Discover how pouches can boost center store growth

As millennial shoppers favor spending time in the perimeter of the store, it has been increasingly important to attract them back to the center aisles.

Converting your packaging to flexible creates visual disruption and enhances customer experience. Interact with this unique pouch to learn how its functional design provides added convenience and captures consumer attention.


Draw consumers to the center aisle with Bemis® self-venting, bowl-style retort pouches for ready meals’


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If you click on the link you can go to the site and see the cool graphic that allows you to rotate the pouch and see all the features.  But what got me interested was the phrase ‘millennial shoppers spending less time in the perimeter of the store’.


First of all you may need to be reminded that millennials (in USA) are people born between the early 1980’s and 2000 and they represent the largest portion of the workforce with direct annual spending power of $200 billion.  They are also the ‘digital’ generation and will shop for products partly based on information they find online.  The Haas Avocado Board 2014-2015 Annual Trends Report says millennials will be the ‘largest contributing group and influencer in food sales.’


Another group is also mentioned as being influential and these are 31 million IndieWomen who are 27 and older, childless living alone spending $50 billion on food and beverages. Both of these groups are looking for food that is healthy and convenient.


Apparently a big trend for millennials and IndieWomen is to shop the perimeter of supermarkets where produce and freshly prepared foods are located.  According to a Fortune report ‘The war on big food ‘  May 2015, a lot of major brand food companies are losing market share to the preferences shown by the two groups.  The article also points out that shoppers are skipping the middle aisles in stores altogether where the big brands typically dominate.  Campbell’s strategy to overcome their drop in market share is to buy companies like Bolthouse that produces fruit and veggie drinks which is moving Campbell’s closer to the perimeter.


Back to the Bemis self-venting retort pouch that caught my attention in the first place – notice that it is from Pace Ready Meals Fiesta Chicken and Rice.


Bemis outlines their strategy in their annual report states: ‘And in the United States, a variety of consumer trends such as freshness, healthy snacking, and on-the-go convenience drive the need for our proprietary, high-barrier packaging solutions….we will leverage our strong pipeline of new products and innovation’.     The Packaging World article says:

The pouch is designed for functionality and convenience:

  • Microwavable package ensures food is evenly cooked through controlled venting
  • Consumers can enjoy a hot meal right out of the bowl shaped package that incorporates an easy open linear tear feature
  • Easily store this shelf stable package without the need for refrigeration
  • Prevent burns and facilitate use with cool zones
  • Clear bottom allows consumers to see the product


All of these features are innovations that cover a variety of requirements for Millennials and IndieWomen but are also intended to draw the consumer back to the center aisles.

Guess what?  Pace is a Campbell’s company.



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      Author's profile photo Stefan Weisenberger
      Stefan Weisenberger

      Great blog. I like the point of new buyer behaviour drives the need for different kind of packaging. Despite the innovation effort to develop this new type of packaging, I believe this requires a fair amount of thorough market research. And I like the clear, see-through bottom of the packaging.

      I stumbled on an interesting related story in the German newspaper "ZEIT": Frosta, a German producer of refrigerated convenience food, have challenged the assumptions of their industry. Most of the industrial producers assume consumers would rather not know the manufacturing and the ingrediences of their products, and thus try to communicate as blurry as law allows.

      Frosta skips artifical flavours and colours, and provides full transparency - into their factory, and also where each ingredient originates. And as the origin e.g. of tomatoes may change from meal to meal, and lot to lot, they make sure to actually provide this level of transparency and print it on the packaging. Beyond the information directly on the packaging, they also print a packaging code. Insert this on their tracking webpage "Zutatentracker" and you get take a deep dive into the origin of each ingredient.

      Not a see-through bottom, but a lot of transparency. Even their factory got a glass wall.
      Quite an additional effort, but their consumers love it. Frosta won an award for being the most sustainable brand in Germany in 2012.