As Australian consumers are increasingly time-poor, they have embraced a number of pack types. The presence of stand-up pouches that feature plastic screw caps, for example, has expanded into a number of product areas, such as baby food and yoghurt. This combination was initially adopted for prepared baby food, where there is a need to cater to on-the-go lifestyles. Adults possess the need for mobility, particularly in the morning, when they often lack the time for a sit down breakfast. To cater for this growing target audience, brand owners have established the “liquid breakfast”, part of flavoured milk drinks, which are packaged in brick liquid cartons. Sometimes the issue is less to do with not having time to sit down for a meal than with cooking the meal. The demand for ready meals has grown as a result, with the related packaging options of ready meal trays – in the case of chilled ready meals – and folding cartons for both shelf stable ready meals and frozen ready meals.
The success of baby food in stand-up pouches, flavoured milk drinks in brick liquid cartons and ready meals in either ready meal trays or folding cartons has been so great that their popularity is expected to continue to grow over the next five years. In terms of growth rates, however, these trends may have reached their peak. The demand for prepared baby food and dried baby food, for example, may slow due to an expected softening of the birth rate, following the slight rise that has been described as a mini-baby boom since 2007. At the same time, the ageing of the Australian population, and consequently high number of Australians leaving the work place, will mean that the proportion of consumers feeling time pressures with such severity that they are unable to the sit down for or cook a meal will subside. The need for solutions to the hectic pace of modern life will remain, but for a significant portion of the Australian population this will no longer be an issue.