by Marion Nestle
Aug 13 2014

Sales of packaged, processed foods are declining: Three reasons why

Everybody agrees that the packaged food industry isn’t selling as much as it used to.  Here are three explanations for this trend.

1.  The packaging: The Wall Street Journal says it’s all about the old-style packaging that makes foods seem unnatural.  Clear packaging works better for sales.

2.  More sophisticated consumers: The Hartman Group research and consulting firm has a new report analyzing this trend: “Recipe for Growth in Packaged Foods:”

The biggest long-term challenge facing the U.S. food industry is that taste preferences are changing. This is most apparent among highly urbane and educated consumers, where the arbitrary boundaries of “too sweet” and “too fatty” are altering in ways inimical to the core food science paradigm of the U.S. food and beverage industry.

The U.S. food industry routinely serves crude flavor profiles associated with the unsophisticated farm cuisine of Middle America: heavy on salt, dairy and animal fat and, in the past half century, sugar…For years, there was growing demand for these flavors in all sorts of foods, primarily because U.S. preferences were not changing.

Now they are. The increasing multiculturalism of the U.S. population plus the globally well-traveled, savvy upper-middle class have created a large population of consumers intentionally seeking complex flavor profiles imported from much more sophisticated food cultures.

3.  Not enough corporate social responsibility: Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign achieved two coups in the last week or so.  First General Mills and now Kellogg have signed on to its Climate Declaration which commits them to reducing greenhouse gases produced in their processing chains.  Oxfam organized more than 200,000 signatures on a petition—and produced a report, Standing on the Sidelines—to induce these companies to pay more attention to their effects on climate change.

Food advocacy is making headway.  Keep at it!

  • Pingback: Sales of Packaged, Processed Foods are Declining. Here’s Why… | Keegan Sheridan, ND

  • http://getthegirlcodereviewed.blogspot.com/ Download Get The Girl Code PDF

    Greetings, I’m a brand new freelance web designer in the beginning stages and I’m in need of a portfolio.
    Are you wanting a webpage design free-of-charge?

  • Pingback: TEN THINGS - Canada Crop Protection Aug 14 2014 |

  • Lorraine Lewandrowski

    The “unsophisticated farmers of middle America” versus the “globally well traveled, savvy upper middle class, highly urbane and educated consumers” is a meme that appears with greater frequency these days.

  • http://www.myperfectwellness.com Rajesh

    Great, all three are the completely Valid reason, and I’m really happy that packaged food sale is declining. I believe that second “More sophisticated consumers” is the main reason why it is happening. People now have become more health conscious, they want to look good, feel good, and most importantly eat the food they know about.

    The changing environment has made the people health conscious, the evolution of more and more communicable diseases & the changed lifestyle.