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Food Packaging: That's a Wrap

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auntjojo.jpgPackaging matters. If the explosion in reusable grocery totes hasn’t convinced you of that, maybe this research will. According to our own MamboTrack Quick Poll, taken just last month, four in 10 (40%) consumers recently tried a new brand or switched products, specifically because it had more earth-friendly packaging.

This issue is trending right now in a very public way, thanks to a media blitz for SunChips new compostable chip bag. The bag is made from plants and will reportedly break down in 14 weeks in an active compost pile.

But it’s not just compostable and/or biodegradable packaging that’s winning consumer affection. They also prefer packaging that can be recycled or is made from recyclable materials.

That’s an issue Whole Foods Market has taken to heart with the Gimme 5 recycling program. It’s for #5 plastics like those typically found in yogurt, cottage cheese, and other tub-style containers. Most communities don’t collect those plastics for recycling.

Under the Gimme 5 program, Whole Foods will deliver the plastics to a company called Preserve that’ll turn the containers and lids into household products like toothbrushes, razors, food storage sets and other kitchen products (Gimme 5 is a Preserve program and is open to other retailers).

Of course, there’s also the matter of reusable or refillable packaging — nearly 40% of consumers in our MamboTrack quick poll said they’d recently bought those products too. That could mean milk in glass bottles, refillable water jugs, refillable soap dispensers and trigger cleaner bottles, or bulk food retailers that accommodate reusable containers, for example.

And as for all those reusable grocery bags…the trend isn’t stopping there. Now consumers are turning up with lightweight mesh reusable produce bags too. And a company called Wrapsacks is offering reusable fabric gift bags with a tracking code, so you can login online and see where else your wrapping has been.

Apparently sometimes it is what’s on the outside that counts.

(Photo credit: auntjojo)

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