Millennial and Time-pressed Consumers’ Evolving Preferences Underscore Colossal Demand for On-the-Go Food Packaging

By: Fact.MR*


ColossalModern day consumers are time-pressed; their daily routine is packed with commuting and working, leaving no room for food preparation as well as consumption. The trend has been instigated by rapid urbanization and rise in purchasing power which, in turn, has invited preference for convenience, increased number of single person households, and expanding middle class. In this regard, anything introduced in the market that saves time is booming and on-the-go food packaging is at the epitome of this trend. Changing life preferences have increased the pool of time-pressed consumers, who are actively opting ready meals packed with on-the-go food packaging.

Catering industry has adopted multiple ways to deliver services that are in consonance with these evolving consumer trends. Challenges such as food delivery have been resolved by the packaging industry with the introduction of flexible, trendy, and on-the-go food packaging solutions. As the demand for processed, ready, and convenient meals or breakfasts rises, innovative packaging solutions are highly sought after by modern consumers. Thus, innovation is the keytrend propelling the market of on-the-go food packaging.

Key Innovation Trends

• Flexible Packaging Technology – Flexible packaging has proved beneficial for both manufacturers as well as consumers in terms of cost saving and convenience. Time-pressed consumers are avid purchasers of flexible packaging that is light-weight, easy to open, carry, reseal, and store. In addition, the flexible packaging technology extends shelf-life of food and falls into a positive sustainability profile. That said, the technology makes the food more enjoyable, convenient, and safer for modern consumers. Owing to these factors, the flexible on-the-go packaging segment is preceding the on-the-go food packaging market.

• Sustainable Packaging Solutions – Growing consumer responsibility towards environment and awareness regarding the extent of carbon footprints that will be left behind have augured well for the ongoing sustainability trend. Manufacturers have introduced sustainable packaging solutions, which are offered in eco-friendly materials with reduced CO2 emission standards and carbon footprint. Smaller and single-serving packaging suitable for modern consumer lifestyle is another achievement of more positive sustainable profile of on-the-go packaging solutions.

• Emphasis on Hygiene – With the ever growing focus on health and hygiene, modern consumers have increased consumption of salads, yogurt, and fresh fruits. Increased emphasis on hygiene has led food packaging manufacturers to introduce on-the-go packaging solutions for the aforementioned highly sought after healthy food products.

• Consumer-driven Packaging – Rising population of single person households has led to the demand for single serving on-the-go food packaging. Separately, the demand for on-the-go ‘all-in-one meal’ by millennial consumers has inspired foodservice providers to launch on-the-go complete meal solutions. Hence, the market for on-the-go food packaging is marked by the presence of such consumer-driven solutions such as single-serving meal, meal kits, and pre-cooked meals.

Competition-Intensive Developed Regions and Emerging Market in Developing Regions

Developed countries such as the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom represent intense penetration of processed and packaged food products. In addition, changing lifestyle has augmented consumer preference for on-the-go food packaging solutions. Presence of surplus manufacturers operating in the food packaging industry has introduced multiple innovative packaging solutions. This has resulted in competitive market scenario in developed region. This market scenario is leading food giants to enter developing countries where the market is anticipated to present ample growth opportunities.

Developing countries have lower penetration of on-the-go food packaging due to lack of awareness, weak distribution network, and deep-rooted practice of traditional breakfast and meal. However, ‘food go-to’ and ‘on-the-go food’ trends are gradually penetrating, particularly in the markets of India, China, Brazil, and Australia where consumer preferences are gradually evolving. Rapid urbanization and industrialization in these regions is further expected to alter consumer preference, propelling the growth of on-the-go food packaging.

Key Company Highlights

Contemporary packaging designs are driven by factors such as convenience and ease of use for the development of new products. To accommodate consumers’ individual habits and lifestyle, past decades have witnessed the introduction of some of the most intelligent on-the-go food packaging solutions.

• TetraPak is leading the market with the aseptic on-the-go paper packaging solutions in the food and beverages sector. The Swedish dairy manufacturer has recently introduced the world’s first drinkable yogurt in a 200 ml screw-cap bottles by targeting the growing market of on-the-go consumers.

• Parkside, the UK-based company has recently introduced a sustainable on-the-go packaging range made from eucalyptus trees. The packaging range includes sharing bags and tea biscuit packs.

• Ecolean, a Sweden packaging company has recently unveiled its latest packaging solutions including tomato whiteners, alcoholic mojito drinks, and ready-to-drink tomato soup packaging at the Anuga FoodTec 2018.

• In 2015, Frips GmbH launched organic on-the-go muesli pots under the brand “Milk’nMüsli” in Germany. The pot comprises a shot of milk powder and a spoon, along with muesli, and consumers only need to add water before consumption.

• PepsiCo Inc. established a new production plant in China in 2015. The company, through this new plant, is focusing on manufacturing a variety of Quaker products including instant oats, quick cooked oats, and Quaker’s cereal powder drink in order to cater to the evolving demand.

On-the-go Recycling Initiative

Growing popularity of on-the-go food packaging has led manufacturers to devise ways of appropriate disposal. Despite their biodegradability, even sustainable food packaging, if disposed inappropriately, can lead to concerns such as sewage blockages. Keeping this in mind, manufacturers are taking the assistance of technology and media to explore new recycling methods. For instance, an innovative collaboration of retailers and packaging firms in Leeds, England, has carried out a pilot run of recycling of on-the-go food packaging. In this pilot run, an app will assist the consumers to understand appropriate ways of recycling through barcodes. Such initiatives will further ensure the success path of on-the-go food packaging market in the future.

Concluding Remarks

Proactive consumer lifestyle, evolving food preparation methods, and rise in the time-poor population are driving the demand for on-the-go food packaging. The soaring demand across world regions has, in turn, led consumers to seek innovative food packaging solutions. While the present market is marked by innovations and evolving consumer preferences, the ‘on-the-go’ trend is here to stay in the backdrop of opportunities in the developing market, recycling initiatives, preference for sustainable packaging, and consumer-driven development of the market.


(The insights presented here are from a research study on Global On-the-go Food Packaging Market by Fact.MR.)

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Food Marketing & Technology is a monthly magazine published by L.B. Associates Pvt Ltd

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