Like the proverbial squeaky wheel, the sagging economy is starting to demand our attention-and action. And the packaging community is responding.

Because of sluggish salaries and rising prices for just about every food or fuel we consume, many consumers are shifting where and how they spend their money. According to a recent article in The New York Times: “Spending data and interviews around the country show that middle- and working-class consumers are starting to switch from name brands to cheaper alternatives.”

That’s good news for private-label/store brands and “value” products. And did you hear? Backyard vegetable gardens are as popular today as the Wii Fit video program. Home-grown produce fulfills multiple desires of today’s consumer: It’s organic, locally grown and CHEAP! A few plants seem to yield enough cucumbers or tomatoes to feed a small country. Maybe people will sell their surplus in a fruit stand right next to their kids’ lemonade business. Or maybe they’ll integrate vertically and grow lemons.

How ready are you for more cost cutting in your packaging department? Cause it’s coming soon if it hasn’t yet. For those of you already juggling sustainability, optimization and innovation, catch!

Keep ’em coming
It’s time to renew your free subscription to the best-read, most-preferred and award-winning magazine for food and beverage packagers. Please take a few moments to return the convenient card that’s attached to the cover of this issue or re-subscribe online. You won’t want to miss a single copy because, coming up in the next couple of months, you’ll get:

• The Annual Consumer Insights report, which will tell you what type of packages consumers are willing to pay more for;

• Our Food Packager and Beverage Packager of the Year issues, celebrating exemplary companies for their courage and creativity in packaging;

• The ever-useful Buyer’s Guide, completely focused on suppliers serving the food and beverage markets;

Plus a whole lotta more! F&BP

Lisa McTigue Pierce
Member of the Int’l Packaging Press Organization