Packaging Innovation
September 29, 2014

What you see is what you buy — Why food comes in clear packaging (most of the time)

Fact: Shoppers are more inclined to buy when they see what they’re getting. Brands know this too. That’s why many foods come in clear packaging. Still, transparent packaging comes with a couple of challenges. How do you make sure food looks tasty after transportation and shelf stocking, for one? Food makers need to adjust their tactics with visibility in mind.

You eat what you see

When they can actually see the product inside, consumers know better what they are getting and will therefore be more inclined to make the purchase. This holds true for food, in particular. Yet food often isn’t ready for a big reveal after a package has suffered shipping, shelf stocking and other jostling. Furthermore, many foods degrade when they come in contact with light, making transparent packaging and clear wrappers tricky to use. Oil in nuts, for instance, oxidizes when exposed to light.

Clear packaging is worth the effort

And yet, food makers go to great lengths to offer transparent packaging to their customers. General Mills, for instance, worked for more than a year to put their Uber fruit-and-nut bars in clear wrappers. The team tested numbers of clear films, each version going into a climate controlled box to mimic conditions such as grocery store shelves, convenience store counters.

The efforts pay off, though. Not only do consumers feel that food in clear packaging looks better, they find it tastes better, too! Furthermore, seeing the ingredients of the food with your very eyes can be a strong motivator to buy.

Clear packaging isn’t suitable for all foods

Not all foods are ready to go transparent, though. Oatmeal, for instance, doesn’t look good in clear packaging as it gets dusty. Therefore, a valuable lesson for companies who want to go transparent, is to make sure the product still looks tasty after it’s been put on a truck and shipped to a store.