Bite at first sight: Study shows consumers prefer clear microwavable packaging

May 08, 2019 by Milliken Chemical

A common saying affirms that "we eat with our eyes." While eating is a multi-sensory experience, our first ocular perception will determine if it's bite at first sight. In the ultra-competitive marketplace of food-to-go, retailers are keenly aware of the importance of visual merchandising and packaging in achieving their goal of converting potential customers into regular convenience, on the go, food shoppers.

Clear and microwavable plastic packaging drives demand

Modern consumers require both expediency and quality in their daily food choices. Similarly to how millennials seek out lists of the "most Instagramable restaurant menu options," on-the-go food retailers compete for morning and lunchtime mainstream foodie consumers' attention with the most visually appealing food packaging, including plastic packaging and containers. Consumers are using supermarkets like carry-out restaurants.

Milliken conducted a study to explore consumer and retailer preferences in packaging — particularly as it relates to food products in clear and microwavable plastic packaging. How do these properties drive demand for both buyers and sellers?

The one-on-one interviews with selected buyers and food retailers accessed their state of interest in using Milliken's NX™ UltraClear™ polypropylene packaging.

The research showed that clear plastic packaging, offering high aesthetics and a clear view of the food, was significantly preferred. In fact, consumers were reportedly willing to pay up to $0.15 more for the convenience of a clear and microwaveable package.

Polypropylene packaging appeals to shoppers

Plastic food packaging used to be dominated by the use of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PS (polystyrene) containers because of the clarity. Traditionally, PP (polypropylene) had a less attractive milky appearance. But thanks to Milliken's innovative proprietary Millad NX 8000 technology, polypropylene can now be made ultra clear.

NX™ UltraClear™ polypropylene packaging offers remarkable advantages. In addition to being ultra clear, light-weight and durable, its properties of microwaveability and freezability make it ideal for shoppers.

As much as 88% of retail food store buyers felt this product would increase sales.

"Customers will pick up multiple meals knowing the food is in a freezable, microwaveable container," said one supermarket chain manager. "My customers shop with their eyes," said another manager.

Essentially, the grab-and-go consumer looks for quality, eye-appealing, food combining a fresh look and convenient packaging to match they busy lifestyles.

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