Parents Want Simpler Nutritional Labels and Sustainable Packaging for Their Food Purchases

food packaging

There’s much more to food packaging than simply offering a protective vessel for food products until they reach their destination. From the type of material that is used, to its functionality and accessibility, to the colours and information printed on the exterior, food packaging is a brand’s ‘elevator pitch’ to the consumer. It’s an opportunity to stand out from the other brands on the shelf, attract attention and convince consumers to purchase.

food packaging

Would you like tailored insights for your brand? Use our trusted panels of engaged parents and our dedicated private platform to gather critical insights to help your decision making and activate customers. Contact us now to find how we can help

We recently undertook a study in association with Innovate Solutions to find out how parents feel about food packaging. We were keen to find out what aspects of food packaging are important to them and of course, what factors of food packaging are more likely to influence them to buy a product at their current life stage. In this article, we’ll consider some of the key insights to come out of the study and where our research sits in the context of broader food packaging research from around the world.

Key Insights From Parents About The Influence Of Food Packaging On Purchasing Decisions

During August 2021, we distributed an online quantitative survey of 17 questions via email to 531 Irish parents across the country. The survey was active for 10 days and the total number of complete responses was 504.

Five trends came out of the results which we found particularly interesting:

  1. What influence packaging has on new product purchase – 85% of parents said that packaging is the first thing they notice about a product and great packaging creates great expectations of a product.
  2. What people check on packaging – 51% of parents always check the nutritional information on food products they buy for themselves.
  3. What’s important for packaging on kids products – 90% of parents check the nutritional information on food products they buy for their kids.
  4. Reducing packaging waste – 7% of parents said that responsibility for reducing packaging waste lies with consumers.
  5. Sustainable packaging – 53% of parents said they would definitely choose one product over another if it had sustainable packaging.

RECOMMENDED READING: 5 Key Insights from Parents On Buying Irish Food Products

Our Food Packaging Research in Context

Looking online, we found our research findings reflected in various different international studies, particularly with frustration over misleading or overly complicated nutritional information on food products and a desire for more eco-friendly packaging solutions. For example:

  • The UK lobby group Action on Sugar (AoS) called for government restrictions on the use of child-friendly food packaging and labelling to “stop misleading parents” after discovering high levels of sugar in yogurts targeted at children.
  • A US study printed in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that there is a “disconnect” between front-of-pack labels (FoPL) and ingredient lists of foods containing fruits and vegetables, which can make it difficult for parents to understand what they are actually feeding their young children. We can see this finding reflected directly in a comment from one of the parents from our panel: “When I look at the nutritional info I probably don’t understand most of it anyway. If there was a way of explaining these things more clearly I would look at them then.”
  • A report by Oristep IT Consulting showed that today’s parent are looking for green, innovative, recyclable alternatives to traditional baby food packaging, as it aligns with their desires for more sustainable and nutritious products for their small children. Again, one of our panel parents noted something similar: “I’d like to see more environmentally friendly packaging for kids’ snacks, made of maybe natural fibres so they can be compostable.”

How Brands Can Attract Parents to Their Products Through Packaging

Nail that first impression

First, you need to find out how to crack a winning first impression with the consumer because acing your packaging’s initial appearance will give your product the best chance of success. Consider quirky or clever interactive packaging to strengthen your product’s appeal. It would be a good idea to conduct thorough consumer packaging assessments to ensure you are hitting the mark.

Emphasise clear, concise nutritional information

When considering your product’s existing packaging, there are several areas you should focus on to make improvements. Nutritional information is highly important to parents both for themselves and when buying for their children. Focus on making the product information crystal clear, the origin fully transparent and the nutritional status/ingredients list being as ‘clean’ as possible. This will increase consumer trust.

food packaging

Showcase your packaging’s eco-friendly attributes

Over a third of parents are being influenced by whether the kids’ product looks or is labelled as sustainable. 51% of parents say they would choose one product over another with a further 39% saying they might consider choosing a product if it was packaged in biodegradable or recyclable material. Making sure your packaging is eco-friendly and well-labelled as sustainable will help influence choice. Make sure your nutritional and sustainable credentials are clear on your product’s package.

Highlight how your business is helping to reduce packaging waste

Our research found that parents consider the onus to reduce packaging waste to be on food brands first, followed by retailers. Retailers can communicate how they are helping to solve the problem. Parents say they don’t always find it very clear which elements of packaging are recyclable and which are not. Communicating this in simple language and in clear view will give your product a competitive edge.

Find Out How to Attract Parents to Your Product

Looking for ways to connect your brand or product with Irish parents? Contact us directly to find out how ParentsandBrands can help you with valuable parent-specific insights.

Would you like business-transforming insights from parents for your business? Use our tailored panels of engaged parents and our dedicated private platform to gather critical insights to help influence consumers to deliver long term profitability. Contact us now to find how we can help.

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