( The Packer )

How are we feeling about the future?

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey recently posted that economic expectations will swing widely on the outcome of the presidential election, with those liking Biden becoming more optimistic if he wins. Obviously, Trump supporters will be giddy if he prevails.

The typical American’s  “all or nothing” sentiment about their political candidate is understandable but unfortunate. Too often we are blind to the possibility that our life and times won’t necessarily pivot based on who becomes president.

From the Sept. 25 University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey website:

“When consumers were directly asked which candidate would be better for the economy and for their personal finances, Trump was chosen over Biden as more likely to benefit the economy and their finances, although most consumers said there was no difference with regard to their own finances. Over the next several months, there are two factors that could cause volatile shifts and steep losses in consumer confidence: how the election is decided and the delays in obtaining vaccinations. While the end of the recession will depend on these non-economic factors, the hardships endured by consumers can only be offset by renewed federal relief payments.”


More important than who we elect, it is critical that the voting has its intended effect and produces a winner. After that, let’s get a vaccine and America will find her footing again.

A bigger footprint

There is a great past in plastics, but what about the future?

Sustainable packaging was a big topic at The Packer’s Sustainable Produce Summit, and one of the observations is that scaling up production of bio-based packaging will take years.

Today, I saw a news release that indicates that Conagra Brands wants to play a part in that bio-based trend.

The company  announced its continued partnership with Footprint, a sustainable materials science technology firm that designs plant-based solutions to single-use plastic. 

The company announced new products featuring bowls made from plant-based fibers for Healthy Choice Power Bowls, new Hungry-Man Double Meat Bowls and P.F. Chang’s Ramen single-serve meals. No produce packaging here, but a notable development nonetheless.

By using plant-based fibers instead of plastic, Conagra said the carbon footprint of manufacturing the bowls is reduced by 50% to 70% across select product lines.

In January this year, Conagra said the company is striving to make 100% of its plastic packaging renewable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.


How about them colored-flesh apples?

From the inbox today, a release from Europe talked about colored-flesh apples:

“The new European Kissabel apple season has begun. The project partners in the UK, France and Switzerland started harvesting two colored-flesh varieties: Kissabel Orange and Kissabel Yellow. The first variety features skin with an orange/pink pigmentation, intense pink flesh and a strongly flavored, refreshing taste, while the second has a yellow skin, pink flesh and a balanced flavor.”

More: “Kissabel is the brand that identifies the different varieties of colored-flesh apple – from pink to intense red – developed by the IFORED project, an international partnership involving 14 of the world’s largest production and marketing companies.”


Europe appears to be a step or two ahead of the U.S. when reaching for the new-look apples.

So far, I haven’t heard much buzz about colored-flesh apples here, but no doubt it is coming.



Hot takes

From time to time, I’ll publish consumer responses to our pop-up poll on our coverage of the “Dirty Dozen.”

Here are the responses of one consumer who took the time to take the survey:

Does the Dirty Dozen list influence how you shop?

What is your level of trust in the safety of fresh produce?

Tell us why...
Too many recalls after the fact

What produce brand do you trust the most?
Not sure I trust any brand

Where do you shop for most of your fruits and vegetables?

What is one thing a produce brand could do earn your trust?
Good reputation

How old are you?

Web links of interest

Timeline of coronavirus on way to 1 million deaths

USDA funds research on COVID-19 in supply chain

USDA: India retail COVID-19 Update
Key insight: Online orders during the initial phases of the lockdown grew significantly but have returned to preCOVID levels as consumers prefer to shop in-person. While consumers are making less trips to grocery stores, revenue remains growing for retailers.

COVID-19 IRI Dashboard

EU Launches Consultation on Future Organics Action Plan
Key insight:  On September 4, 2020, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the EU’s future action plan for the development of EU organic production. The action plan will complement the new legal framework for Organic Agriculture (Regulation (EU) 2018/848) that will enter into force on January 1st, 2022. The development of an action plan on organic agriculture stems from the EU Green Deal and the European Farm to Fork Strategy that have set an ambitious target of at least 25 percent of EU agricultural land to be farmed organically by 2030.

Northern California wildfires


Submitted by R Henry on Tue, 09/29/2020 - 16:55

"Sustainable" has no objective definition as relates to packaging or anything else. As such, it is only a relative term, and therefore only a matter of opinion.