As discussed in the blog ‘How flexitarians are changing the food industry one veggie burger at a time’, flexitarian consumer trends are starting to impact the food industry significantly.
LINPAC recognises the vast opportunities the meat alternative market presents to packaging manufacturers and here are five trends we predict will shape this market in 2016:
Packaging that stands out
Inspired by the many cookery programmes and food blogs, consumers are looking for tasty foods which offer new and novel flavours and textures. Whether it’s meat or meat-alternative products, brands and food manufacturers want to offer their goods in innovative packaging formats which engage with the consumer and stand out from the shelf, and this is not dissimilar in the meat-alternative market. The use of loud, unique designs with bold lettering and bright exciting colours are always a winner on this front.
Plant proteins are starting to take a lead in the meat-alternative market, with specific types, such as pea protein, showing a 49% increase from 2013 to 2014, according to Mintel.
Driving this growth is the expansion of these proteins into the bakery, nutritional supplement and beverage markets. Green packaging immediately attracts consumers searching for vegetarian foods whilst also reflecting the popular health and wellbeing trend.
It’s all becoming clear…
As in the meat industry, traceability of products and ingredients is key for flexitarian consumers. They need to trust a product and understand its authenticity. Transparent packaging is an important factor here too as it helps to build consumer trust by allowing them to see product appearance on the shelf. Clear labeling is also necessary, providing extensive information on ingredients and provenance.
There is a large gap in the protein market for high protein products which appeal to senior citizens and focus on health and wellbeing by targeting age-related conditions, such as sarcopenia – a loss of muscle mass and strength caused by ageing.
Segmentation through packaging is necessary as the market is widening and new product segmentations are formed. The elderly in particular require easy open and easy-to-use packaging, such as the new options which are peelable, re-sealable or lidded to enhance product appeal.
Although some consumers are actively choosing not to consume meat on a regular basis, it does not mean they should miss out on the premium retail experience.
Selling meat alternatives in a butcher-style environment can reinforce the message that these products are equal to their meat counterparts and appeal to the flexitarian by replicating the meat experience, as these consumers are simply “meat-eaters cutting back”.
Luxury, premium-feel packaging can reflect this positioning and create an indulgent experience often associated with the meat category and quality ingredients that feature in the sector.
LINPAC has been at the forefront of the meat-alternative packaging sector since 2011 and now supplies 35 million trays to six customers in five different shades of green requested by the segment.
This sector is one that must be monitored; we’re expecting big things from this innovative and fast growing trend.