is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Plastic Perceptions: Let’s make something perfectly clear

Plastic Perceptions: Let’s make something perfectly clear
Sustainable packaging expert Robert Lilienfeld debuts a new column at PlasticsToday, Plastic Perceptions. In this first blog he shows how transparency in packaging can help reduce food waste.

PlasticsToday welcomes the debut of Plastic Perceptions, a new series of blogs from Robert (Bob) Lilienfeld, who has been involved with sustainable packaging for more than 20 years. He is currently editor of The ULS (Use Less Stuff) Report, a marketing and communications consultant to AMERIPEN and other organizations and is also a professional photographer.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece for regarding consumers’ overriding need for convenience in their food packaging (A Convenient Truth: When It Comes to Food Waste, The Value of Packaging Hits Home). They want to buy, store, prepare, and serve with the minimum amount of time and effort that it takes to effectively get the job done.

When it comes to reducing food waste, convenience can take on many forms. For example, consumers have also told me that a key packaging benefit is clarity: the ability to quickly see what’s inside the container. The reasons are fairly obvious: First, seeing the food makes it easier to decide when and how to use it. Second, visibility helps ensure that food is chosen while it is still fresh. Thus, transparent packaging makes it easy for consumers to get the most value out of their food investment.

I conducted a recent series of video interviews for a client that asked consumers their thoughts on packaging. This snippet at YouTube clearly drives the point home:

Thus, clear packaging in the store, but just as importantly in the fridge, can save economic and environmental resources by reducing food waste.

For a first-hand look at plastics in packaging and other markets, consider Toronto May 16-18. That’s where and when the Advanced Design & Manufacturing (ADM) Toronto tradeshow presents five zones including packaging and plastics. For more information, visit the ADM Toronto website.

If you’re a consumer packaged goods company, moving to clear packaging or adding a window may provide you with a valuable point of differentiation–especially if you promote the reason for doing so: Our new package helps you serve food when it’s fresh, making your family happy while saving you money.

In fact, McCall Farms of Effingham, SC, is doing just this by using the TruVue clear can from Sonoco (Hartsville, SC) that consists of a metal lid and bottom attached to a transparent plastic container. McCall’s just-introduced Glory Farms brand of vegetables are visible to consumers both on-shelf and in the pantry (see Sonoco launches clear TruVue Can with McCall Farms).

If you’re a converter like Sonoco, such a move gives you a similar point of differentiation with your consumer packaged goods customers: This package will help build the perception that your brand is caring, responsible, and sustainable.

If you’re a producer of consumer food storage containers, the same messages apply. This is why Newell-Rubbermaid (Hoboken, NJ) recently launched Brilliance food storage containers, made with crystal-clear Tritan resin from Eastman Chemical (Kingsport, TN).

The key, as always, is to educate your audiences about the benefits of clarity so that they are willing to switch to your container or product, even if it costs a bit more. Given consumers’ demand for convenience, plus the growing awareness of food waste as a major economic and environmental issue, I’m betting that smart marketing on your part can lead the way to success.

Bob's website is

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.