Millennials and multicultural communities drive bakery packaging

Not only do baked goods have to look fresh and healthy, they must be easy to produce and package, for instance, in paper bags that can be packed at high speeds.

Photo caption: Packaging with an artisanal, fresh, and healthy look appeals to baked goods consumers.
Photo caption: Packaging with an artisanal, fresh, and healthy look appeals to baked goods consumers.

Sustainable, unique and mass appeal are the ingredients of successful bakery packaging, Jeff Lukas, president of Packaging Resources, Inc., told a group of attendees at the 2016 International Bakery Industry Exposition. 

And one of the major driving forces behind bakery packaging innovation is millennials. “By 2017, millennials will have more buying power than any other generation,” says Lukas. “Millennials are snacking more, looking for fresh, new products, and they are big into “grab and go” varieties.”

Lukas says that the millennial market is used to eating what they want, when they want it, and whenever they want to eat.  This is spurring the emergence of small size packs that are propelling the global bakery packaging market as well as increasing interest in small portion sizes for healthier snacking, according to a new report from, Global Bakery Packaging Market 2016-2020.

Millennials are also interested in sustainable and reusable packaging, specifically packaging that reduces landfill waste. “The companies that continue to innovate to reach the evolving market with millennials will win,” says Lukas.

There is also a continued movement, says Lukas, toward European-style packaging as a desired “look” for bakery products. “There has been a focus on new packaging that provides products with an artisanal feel. If the product does not look fresh, artisanal, healthy or grab attention, the consumer will likely not buy it.”  

Not only does the baked good have to look fresh and healthy, but the product should be easy to produce and package in large facilities, for instance, paper bags that can be high speed packed, explains Lukas.

The fine line is to appear fresh with a 30-day shelf life, he says. Thus, there is growing demand for packaging materials that provide greater protection of contents, according to Smithers Pira, such as enhanced atmospheric packaging and barrier coatings for plastic packaging.

Finally, the bakery packaging sector is looking to attract a multicultural market. “The bakery market has to observe the changes in communities and adapt to create new products quickly and cost effectively,” says Lukas. “Packaging needs to speak to the consumer and be relevant to the market.”


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