In order to compete in today’s marketplace, frozen food manufacturers need to anticipate changing customer needs and stay on top of trends. Over the last decade, shifts in lifestyle and behavior have had a significant impact on the consumer packaged goods industry, with one of the more significant changes being a notable increase in demand for convenience packaging.
Demand For Convenience
Market research analysts at Technavio predict that, from 2017-2021, the demand for flexible packaging will increase by 5% or more. This is being led primarily by an increase in demand for convenience by consumers, an emerging middle-class population, and the growth of the processed food industry.
Leading population segments, like millennials with young families, have adopted a health-conscious, on-the-go lifestyle that has brought on a need for packaging that is functional, easy to use, and safe (not to mention sustainable, i.e. reusable, recyclable or compostable). Consumers not only demand these features, in many cases they will spend more money on products that include them, so checking all of the boxes is a must for frozen food manufacturers.
Fast, Delicious & Nutritious
While “TV Dinners” revolutionized the frozen food industry with microwaveable convenience in the mid-20th century, these products were not synonymous with nutrition. In 2018, the need for fast and easy food prep is even more apparent, so it’s easy to see why microwaveable or steamable packaging continues to be a popular packaging option. Yet, with so much emphasis placed on consumers’ maintenance of active, healthy habits, the nutritional value of the products is of utmost importance.
Steamable packaging provides consumers with a fast, convenient way to cook healthy meals, allowing them to steam fresh-cut frozen vegetables right in the package. Fresh-frozen food in steamable packaging provides the same nutritional benefits as fresh food, with the added convenience of a shorter cooking time and easier clean-up.
The nutritional value of today’s frozen products rests squarely on the shoulders of the food manufacturer, yet, over the past decade, technological advancements in frozen food packaging mean better shelf stability and cooking of these products for the end user. For example, film structures have been developed which permit steam vents or controlled seal failure in microwaveable packaging. These allow the bag to automatically rupture when heated, properly venting internal steam during the cooking cycle. Emmerson Packaging’s MicroPack™ product allows you to perfectly tailor the location, size, and frequency of these steam vents to your packaged contents, which means a perfect cook, every time.
Safety Above All
A properly cooked product is essential to consumers, but they also need to be sure that the cooking process is safe, and that the bag will not melt or transfer harmful chemicals when heated. In recent years, there has been a lot of misinformation proliferated in mainstream media about the harmfulness of microwaving plastics.
According to Harvard Health, there is a problematic definition of the word “plastic” which is used in reference to a variety of organic and inorganic compounds. They instead point to “plasticizers” like bisphenol-a and phthalates as the harmful substances to be mindful of. Not long ago, the FDA recognized the potential for small amounts of plasticizers to migrate into food when heated, so it closely regulates the production of plastic containers and other food-packaging materials, and reviews any test data before approving a container for microwave use. At Emmerson Packaging, we ensure that any package we produce meets or exceeds safety requirements set by the FDA. You can read all about our commitment to safety here.
Maximize Your Shelf Appeal
Finally, it’s not enough that the packaging is convenient and safe, it has to stand out on the shelf. Emmerson Packaging’s MicroPack™ allows for high-gloss printing and is heat resistant, which means it will not stretch, distort or melt when sealing. It also uses the highest-quality film, allowing for fast run speeds, strong seal areas, and high-impact graphics.
The demand for fast and easy food preparation is only increasing. Meet your consumers’ needs head-on with packaging that is high-quality, safe and sustainable. If you’re ready to learn more about MicroPack™, chat with one of our helpful Project Central team members today.