Using Trends to Influence Your On-Pack Message

I am currently working on a speech I am going to deliver at the PMA’s fresh produce packaging conference in South Africa. While my core subject is getting growers, packers and marketers to think about their packaging differently, I always try to bring new ideas and insights to every speech I deliver.

One place where I find new packaging ideas and case studies for my speaking is I study food and health trends that are topical in any given year. Simply Google “food trends” and you will get a million plus hits taking you to a range of sites telling you what’s hot in food at the moment.

Another interesting source of ideas is following a company like Mintel’s New Product Database. Mintel tracks, categorises and reports on new products.

How A Protein Consumption Trend Can Lead to an On-Pack Message About Satiety

For example, one of the recent reports that caught my eye was their report on how protein consumption is increasing in the USA.

The essence of the story is that protein consumption is on the rise in America. The reasons behind the increase are varied and suggest Americans are looking for protein to, “to aid in satiety, weight management and to boost muscle recovery and build muscle after a workout, making protein appeal to a broad audience in a great number of usage occasions.”

A couple of points in that quote catch my attention from a packaging communication point of view.

One of reasons for increased protein consumption is satiety.

Satiety refers to how full certain types of foods make you feel. You can eat the same serving sizes of two completely different foods with the same number of calories in them and get different results. One may have high satiety and, as a result, you feel full after eating. You don’t need to snack at all until your next meal. On the other hand, if the other food has low satiety, you’ll likely find yourself hungry again shortly after eating.

So does fresh produce have high satiety? You bet it does. A bit more Google research reveals there is a range of fresh fruit and veg that are considered to have high satiety.

In fruits, apples, bananas and grapes are classified as high satiety foods. Most vegetables are classified as high satiety foods. And, boiled potatoes get a specific mention as an additional high satiety food.

If I was working with any of these products a looking for a key message or story angle, I would be definitely be exploring satiety as a concept. It is new, it is on trend and fruits and veg perform above their weight in this nutritional space.

Food Trends Are Also A Source of New Ideas

Food trends can also provide new on-pack communication and key message ideas.

I’m a big fan of The Food Channel trends (see Their trends are always clear and easy to understand and they never fail to help me generate new ideas.

For example, their trend number 7, “Seasonals for All Seasons” talks about how seasonal boundaries are blurring.

The trend states, “Traditional seasons are getting stretched out, with people making things like pumpkin muffins in the summer. The health benefits and the flavor are turning the fall favorite into a year-round flavor in all kinds of dishes. Restaurant chefs have increased their use of pumpkin on menus by nearly 40 percent in the last two years.”

What can you do with a trend like this on your packaging?

  • First, if you were a pumpkin grower and had recipes on pack, you would want to be ensuring you offered more than just cold, winter fare ideas.
  • Secondly, you might consider putting a starburst on your sticker and talking about how your pumpkin makes a great, low fat base for muffins.
  • Third, got ideas for how consumers can prep your pumpkin so they can store it longer or can freeze it? Then perhaps there is key message potential in that point.

Trends Are A Cheap and Easy Way to Better Understand Your Customers

The rule in packaging communication is you’ve got to talk to your targeted shopper and provide her with information of value that motivates her to purchase your product and pay you more for it.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is to use trend information as trends show you what consumers are thinking about. Staying abreast of trends should give you plenty of ideas to keep your packaging message fresh and relevant.