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Food packaging: Integral in selling convenience and health Traditionally, food packaging has been used for containment and protection. In today’s world, it’s all that and more


hen consumers look for convenient cooking (different to convenience eating), packaging can be a major factor in aiding that choice. Meal kits, partially prepared meals and complete meals are a growing market in Australia. While the offerings are broadening to include sweet potato chips vacuum packed in ready-to-bake foil trays, Wagyu cottage pies pre-packed in bakeat-home ramekins and lamb shoulder bake-in-a-bag-in-a-tray available from grocerants like The Standard Market 26 December 2019

Dr Anneline Padayachee

Company in Newmarket QLD, the convenient pre-prepared cookat-home meal kits are far more advanced in Europe in many ways. As part of a speaking trip to Ireland in September 2019, I had the priviledge of travelling through various key locations. This gave me the opportunity to assess consumer behaviour from what was on offer in supermarkets. There are entire refrigerator aisles dedicated to fresh meal kits that require one-step cooking-at-home. Everything from par-cooked chicken wings, small packs of sausages, individual or duo steak packs with flavour butters through to bake-intray pasta with raw meat balls and raw meat and vegetable stir-fry packs. While the packaging is not always the most elegant or sophisticated, the strategic choice of packaging that aids in convenience was evident. The par-cooked chicken portions are contained in a waxed paperboard round tub style container. The packaging was specific for microwave cooking. The chicken could be reheated on an oven tray if one so chose. It is interesting to

note the similarity in circular design to the KFC style bucket. Small pouch packs of sausages (eightpack) are ideally suited for quick use and portion control. These packs are similar in size to a sandwich and do not take up much refrigerator space. While skin packaging is starting to make its way into the Australian market due to a better effect on meat quality, aging and a more enjoyable eating experience, skin packaging also aesthetically looks