July 31, 2017

Packaging Trends for the Evolving Shopper

PackagingPackaging that resonates with consumers has and will continue to be a large factor in driving sales in the fresh meat case. As consumer demand for the meat they purchase evolve, the expectations from the packaging continues to shift as well. While claims and the design on-pack remain important, consumers are also concerned with the functionality of the packaging.

Using Cargill’s proprietary research study of more than 5,000 fresh meat consumers and Mintel’s ‘Food Packaging Trends’ report, we’ve identified these 3 key packaging trends that are becoming increasingly important to consumers.


Maintaining the freshness of the product continues to become more of a priority for consumers. In fact, 82% of consumers would rank freshness in their top five most important factors when shopping for food.1 Consumers want to feel confident that their meat will hold its taste and quality until it’s ready to be prepared.

Additionally, expiration date continues to be an important factor when determining which product to get in-store. In fact, nearly 70% of consumers would be interested in purchasing packaging that keeps meat fresh for 21 days in the refrigerator.2 Not only is the expiration date itself important, but where it is located on-pack makes a difference to consumers. According to Mintel, shoppers prefer to see them on the front of the packaging by a margin of nearly three to one over the back.1

Portability & Convenience

As consumers continue to search for ways to help with their busy lives, packaging features that emphasize convenience will be important to consumers. Packaging that is resealable, pre-portioned and allows for consumers to eat the food on the go are all desirable packaging attributes. And these features will only continue to become more important as they are all highly valued by consumers ages 18-34, some significantly more than older generations. 1

Advanced Packaging Features

 In addition to portability and convenience, young shoppers are also drawn to advanced packaging features like reusability and ease of storage, showing that they demand more from food packaging. Younger generations are more likely than older generations to want to use technology to interact with their packaging, like a label that changes colors when its stored at the correct temperature1 or accessing information about the nutrition, origin and recipes of their fresh meat product.2

As consumer demands of packaging evolves, Cargill continues to develop packaging innovation to meet those needs. To learn more about Cargill packaging technology like FreshLast Pack™, a vacuum-sealed ground beef package that locks in freshness, contact your Cargill Protein representative.


1Mintel Food Packaging Trends Report, June 2017

22015 Cargill Proprietary Research