The global cheese market is estimated to be valued at $88.7 billion by the end of 2021 and projected to reach $105.9 billion by 2026, according to a 2021 report by ResearchAndMarkets.com. With this ongoing rise in sales, the cheese industry can expect an increase in demand and production for their operations.
To keep up with their consumers’ expectations, cheese brands and packagers need to provide a quality package for their products while focusing on delivering a positive user experience and shifting their offerings towards sustainability. There’s a solution that achieves all these critical packaging components, and it’s called flexible packaging.
Flexible packaging advantages
Many cheese brands and packagers already provide added value and convenience through flexible packaging. Flexible packaging offers durability that also helps protect the product throughout the demanding supply chain, which can leave other packaging formats damaged and result in poor product quality.
Because most cheese products are sold in packages with multiple servings and used over the span of a few days, the packaging must help maintain a moisture barrier after each reclose to help prevent the cheese from drying out or getting moldy. Flexible packaging offers the barrier properties and closure technologies necessary for this.
A double-lock zipper, for example, is often easier to align than a single lock, helping to reseal the package more easily, which creates a better user experience. The double-lock zipper structure also helps slow down moisture transmission rates and helps keep the cheese at the same moisture level as it was when it was first opened.
Sustainable cheese packaging
The biggest opportunity for cheese brands and packagers when it comes to flexible packaging is sustainability. It’s important to not become overwhelmed by sustainability; there are a variety of sustainable options that can best support all types of products. When choosing your sustainable packaging, remember that it should be based on the product’s features and attributes.
For example, products such as cheese leave behind a residue on the packaging, which may not be the best option for a recyclable pouch or closure. Many recycling programs require the end user or consumer to clean the package entirely before placing it into a recycling bin or store drop-off location, leaving the residue a challenging hurdle to overcome. Consumer education on recyclable packages can also be a hurdle, as many consumers may not know what to do with the empty package.
Compostable materials might be a better option for cheese packages, as the residue cheese could leave behind on the film works with the compost process. Flexible packaging supports many sustainable paths, and the best option is the one that will be easiest for consumers to complete the circular path. Consider what infrastructures are available to your consumers and what steps they would need to take to properly do their part to help create a more circular economy.
Recyclable and compostable materials can bring value after the original life of that product. Regardless of the material, it’s critical to start repurposing and reusing packaging to create another generation of that product (and ensure it doesn’t end up in a landfill).
Consumers want security with their package; they want to know their package is closed to maintain and extend the shelf life. Audible-tactile features on zippers and sliders are also beneficial for cheese packaging, as consumers want confirmation that the package is closed, ultimately contributing to moisture control. Slider and zipper closures play an important role in the overall consumer experience.
When a consumer has a positive experience, he or she is more than likely going to continue purchasing that product. With cheese packaging, it’s important to remember that while the quality, taste and flavor of the product are crucial, the packaging can also lead to repeat sales and opportunities for product growth.