In France, packaging takes center stage

By

Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
October 25, 2010

Editor’s note: SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Lindsey Partos attended last week’s SIAL 2010 international food and beverage exhibition in Paris.

Seafood companies could significantly boost their bottom line by making packaging easier for older consumers to open.

Meeting the needs of an aging population are among the “trends of tomorrow” driving product innovation, according to Xavier Terlet, CEO of trend trackers XTC Innovation, who gave a presentation at the SIAL 2010 international food and beverage exhibition in Paris.

“Seniors are living longer, and they need to be able to open products,” Terlet told a conference audience, adding that the life expectancy of European consumers is lengthening and that daily habits become more challenging with age.

Defining the other 15 trends of tomorrow for food innovators, Terlet suggested that appearance and self-control — consumers’ need to understand how the body is affected by what they eat — could play a role in product innovation.

Terlet cited a ready-prepared fish product from the Claude Léger brand as an example of the self-control trend. The two-minute hake dish with bulgar wheat and mixed vegetables was singled out for its positioning, including the use of the terms “pleasure” and “health” on the package.

Specifically, the package features a photo of the cooked hake meal on a white plate, with arrows pointing to each of the food groups — carbohydrates, protein and vegetables. In addition, a label clearly points out the 249 calories contained in the meal.

“One in two consumers do not know what a protein is,” said Terlet, which would explain the inherent value of the Claude Léger package and the need for seafood companies to offer clear, simple communication of vital information on their packaging.

Valerie Lobry, managing director of SIAL, picked up on the information trend when she talked to SeafoodSource during the five-day event.

“The information part must be clear and transparent, [with consumers] clearly aware of the benefit,” said Lobry.

Clarity of information is set to play an increasingly crucial role in product development, crisscrossing with two other trends outlined by Terlet — allergies and the “hunt for suspicious ingredients.”

Allergies will be a “major issue” in the future, said Terlet. According to XTC, 3.5 percent of French adults have food allergies. Consumer concerns over certain food ingredients, such as salt, have upped their need to fully understand foods, resulting in a new trend that has consumers continually searching for questionable ingredients, added Terlet.

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