The food storage category won't easily be contained. The changing needs of today's consumers are driving the category's expansion.
Consumers' financial concerns have played an integral role in the category, said Bill Hauser, manager of research services at Rubbermaid, Wooster, Ohio. "People don't feel as economically secure as they used to, so they're saving food much more than they used to." The aging population, fashion and increased interest in bulk foods and liquid storage also have helped the category grow on supermarket shelves.
Rubbermaid has expanded its Servin' Saver EZ Topps line with 14 new rectangular and square products.
The line features lids with extended tabs on the side to help make containers easier to open. Additionally, lids and bases are coded with matching numbers to make it easier for people with visual impairments to match pieces correctly.
Consumers also are being presented with more fashionable styles. Instead of being hidden in cabinets and pantries, food containers have become a new kind of home furnishing.
Among selections at Anchor Hocking Plastics, St. Paul, Minn., are the Flip-N-Fresh and Klear Por/Klear Stor lines, food storage jars that have the contemporary appearance of glass without the weight and potential breakage. The jars are made of crystal-clear polyethylene terephthalate plastic, which is shatterproof, odorless and freezable.
"These canister-type containers have such a nice appearance they can be left out on the counter top," said Jeff Haynes, vice president of merchandising. Anchor Hocking has "flip top" lids that are said to open and close easily. The lids are lined with a rubber gasket that provides an additional airtight seal. Designs include a 90-ounce tall cylinder, and half-gallon and one-gallon round and square jars.
Liquid storage is another high-growth area for the category, with sippers and pour bottles selling briskly, according to Haynes. In August 1994, FloTool International, Tustin, Calif., premiered Snapware, a line of 10 stockkeeping units that was developed, in part, to meet the growing demand for larger size food storage containers, said Guy Barlow, project manager.
Snapware -- which is said to be airtight, odorless, shatterproof and crystal clear -- offers sizes ranging from one quart to 2.5 gallons. It is widely used to store bulk cereals, pastas and other commodity-based products, said Barlow. FloTool soon will premier Colonial Trader, a line that will feature a 90-ounce reusable Snapware container filled with dry pasta and a seasoning packet. Capable of holding 3 pounds of pasta, the container will be sold in the pasta aisle.