Category Partners Reveals Consumers' Packaging Preferences

Category Partners Reveals Consumers' Packaging Preferences



IDAHO FALLS, ID - Consumer trends, though ever-changing and somewhat difficult to track, are essential to crafting a successful future for the grocery retail industry. Consumers are more interested in sustainability, but does that interest translate into a desire for less plastic in their produce packaging? A recent study by Category Partners (CP) sheds light on the issue.

Cara Ammon, Director of Research, Category Partners“As retailers push more and more toward plastic packaging in the fresh departments, many consumers are on board,” Cara Ammon, Director of Research, commented. “Whether for convenience, value or food safety, many shoppers like this move toward plastic. But, it is also important to remember there are a significant number of shoppers out there who—whether for health, the environment, or they just need less of a given item—prefer their fresh foods to be bulk or packaged in some other material. It is important to give these shoppers options as well.”

Category Partners sheds light on consumer preferences for packaging with its latest research results

According to the report, 29 percent of shoppers prefer to buy their fresh foods in plastic containers, be they bags, clamshells, or overwrap. However, the press release states that 23 percent of consumers say they avoid purchasing plastic-packaged produce whenever possible. The study polled 1,000 customers across the country, aged 21-65+, allowing CP to compare the acceptance and avoidance of plastic packaging across age, region, household income, and the presence of children in the home.

The response to plastic packaging varies across regions, the study claims, with shoppers in the South and Northeast more likely to prefer to buy their fresh foods in plastic containers, and western regions, while still having an overall preference towards plastic, are more likely than those in other regions to avoid plastic.

“Other factors such as availability of the product and regional differences in packaging may influence consumer preferences. For example, the Northeast has a significant percentage of shoppers both preferring (33 percent) and avoiding (20 percent) plastic packaging for their fresh seafood,” Ammon said.

The study also found:

  • Shoppers aged 25-34: 34 percent prefer plastic packaging for produce
  • Shoppers aged 65 and up: 31 percent are more likely to avoid plastic packaging for produce
  • Shoppers earning $35,000-$100,000: 25 percent prefer plastic packaging for produce
  • Shoppers earning more than $150,000: 32 percent avoid plastic packaging for produce
  • Shoppers from two-person households: 24 percent avoid plastic packaging for produce
  • Shoppers from five-person households: 36 percent prefer plastic packaging for produce
  • Shoppers with children are more likely to prefer plastic packaging for produce

To read the full press release on the report, click here.

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Companies in this Story


Category Partners LLC

In 2008, Category Partners was created for this very reason as a joint venture between two large grower/shippers, with the...