Packaging Strategies Must Change To Satisfy Plant-Based Appetites

The growing popularity of plant-based diets including veganism saw meat processors and food companies from across Europe join Sealed Air’s latest Packforum seminar.

Taking place online, the ‘Change Perception’ event explored the shifting consumer behaviours that are changing which foods shoppers buy and the impact this has on packaging strategies.

Gerd Wichmann, EMEA President at Sealed Air, explains: “The number of consumers opting for vegan and flexitarian diets is rapidly growing, with the global plant-based alternatives market expected to be worth around $140billion by 2029. Although health and wellbeing choices are causing people to switch from traditional proteins, they are also motivated by ethical and sustainable reasons.

“Factors such as animal welfare and carbon emissions are changing consumer perceptions of eating meat. This is driving innovation in plant-based foods and as industry adapts to consumer demand, it is crucial that packaging also evolves and keeps pace.”

Panel discussions and one-to-one interviews during the Packforum event looked at the need for plant-based food packaging to align with consumer values. This involved expert insight from Sealed Air’s team, as well as from leaders from food retailers and processors.

“Packaging performance must meet the ethical and sustainable expectations of consumers. An important part of this involves recyclability, said Matt Baldock, Business Development Leader, Plant-Based Alternative Proteins and CHANGE PERCEPTION event leader, however it also requires packaging to prevent waste.”

“By extending shelf life and protecting food against spoilage and contaminants, packaging can reduce levels of food going to disposal. This fits with the sustainability benefits of plant-based diets, but the challenge for industry doesn’t end there. Such performance must also be achieved with packaging that is made without using animal derivatives, such as fats.”

CRYOVAC brand DARFRESH packaging

Tallow (animal fat) is sometimes used as a lubricant or slip agent during the production of food packaging. Event delegates were able to learn about Sealed Air’s alternative approach, which uses non-animal fats and hydrocarbon waxes. This has helped earn Vegan Quality certification for the company’s CRYOVAC® brand food packaging.

Matt Baldock concludes: “The resourcefulness of circular economies and growing concern around climate change will continue to alter consumer perceptions about the foods they purchase. Along with this, shoppers will pay closer attention to food supply chains and expect sustainability to run right from product source through to point of sale. This will increasingly place packaging in the spotlight and it’s important that solutions measure up to consumers’ ethical and sustainable demands.”

Sealed Air’s online event, ‘Change Perception’, took place on Thursday 28 October and was free to attend.

Follow the link to the Event recording here: