Peter Duggan, Strategic Information Services, Bord Bia-Irish Food Board
An increasing number of staple food lines found on both US and European supermarket shelves are now being packaged in pouches, with grocery manufacturers Campbell Soup and HJ Heinz taking the lead. The trend is reportedly being driven by savings on packaging and logistics costs as well as aesthetics (a pouch which contains elaborate graphics offers a modern look and premium appeal).
Pouches are becoming more prevalent due to advances in technology, which allows a doubling in average shelf life from one year to two years. According to FreshIncite, this technology will allow manufacturers to cut packaging costs by 10-15%. Heinz is using the pouch format to address portion size reduction to cater for increasingly cost conscious shoppers. A flexible pouch delivers a smaller portion size of ketchup, with an overall improvement in product margin.
The characteristics of the pouch enable manufacturers to advertise this product as premium quality. The list of benefits associated with the pouch includes lower costs, stronger product appeal and a strategy to increase the effective unit price, whilst responding to the needs of their customers.Branded food manufacturers are also using this format to stay ahead of private label suppliers.