The future of fresh produce packaging

Published 7 March 2017
The future of fresh produce packaging is in focus in the latest issue of Stora Enso’s Viewpoint. This seventh Viewpoint edition covers trends in consumer preferences and packaging for the fruits and vegetables category as well as how these are impacting business for brand owners and retailers.

Category volume growth is stagnant. A telling example is Poland which has strong GDP growth, but the volumes for fresh produce declined by -1% CAGR between 2010-2015 and the forecast up until 2020 is a mere 2% CAGR. Neighboring markets show similar growth patterns.
“Key for creating value in the fresh produce category is to understand how consumer desires can be translated into new and better packaged products. Packaging innovation can help both by driving topline growth and increasing margins by reducing waste levels,” says Björn Thunström, SVP Marketing & Innovation, division Packaging Solutions. “An obvious conclusion from talking to leading retailers is that they expect increased use of packaging in this category.

The report highlights three key topics that shape packaging strategies in the fresh produce category:

1. Consumer desires as a route to value growth – Consumers want to lead a healthy life and fruits and vegetables can be the answer, but not the way they used to. Consumers want a better quality of life and this means convenience.

2. Retailers expect more packaging, not less – Selling packaged fruits and vegetables rather than in bulk has many advantages. The quality and freshness can be increased. Waste can be reduced. Prices can be increased.

3. How packaging innovation can make fresh produce more valuable – Several examples are provided on how packaging can make fresh produce tastier and more premium, but also help consumers navigate busy shelves.

Millennials are concerned about sustainable living and believe food waste is one of the key issues to address. In fact 45% of all fruits and vegetables go to waste globally. The fresh produce category has one of the highest waste levels in grocery retail which makes the role of packaging particularly important to consider. Retailers have increasingly been promoting the use of returnable plastic crates (RPCs) as a means of transporting and displaying fruits and vegetables. However research by the University of Bologna shows that renewable packaging can increase shelf life by up to three days.

To download the full Viewpoint report, please visit:

About our Viewpoints from Stora Enso

The Viewpoint on the future of fresh produce packaging is the seventh edition in a series of Viewpoints from Stora Enso. Through the Viewpoints we share our view on how our customers can become more successful in addressing future opportunities and challenges through packaging. Please also see our previous Viewpoints on packaging for Food, Consumer electronics, Retail, Online retail, Dairy and Millennials. You can find them and learn more about what packaging can do for your business at

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