However, the industry is seeing some gradual changes in the form of new trends, specifically in sauces, dressings, and marinades.
As the American diet goes through changes, so will sauces and their filling and packaging methods.
Flavors and textures are among the differences that sauces are undergoing, as people turn to sauces for simpler, more affordable meals. As a result, trends have taken place to enhance the consumer experience and make choosing the right products easier.
One major change in liquid foods and sauces is an increased emphasis on sanitation, with recent legislation put into place to encourage better steps to prevent product contamination during the filling and packaging processes.
The legislation responsible for this change is the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA), which President Barack Obama signed into law on January 4, 2011. Since the introduction of this act, the prevention of contamination has become even more of a priority for production facilities.
Sauce Trends Over the Years
Since recent recessions have taken place, consumers have continued to turn to sauces to help make home cooking and meal preparation more flavorful and economical. Recent changes in sauce trends that reflect this include an increase in sauces with mushrooms and other vegetables or meat that contribute to flavor and texture, along with new styles of sauces such as Campbell's line of Oven Sauces in 2014.
Another popular option within the past few years is Opa's yogurt dressing products. The Association for Dressings and Sauces named their Feta Dill Greek Yogurt "Dressing of the Year" in October 2014.
Packaging trends that continue to influence sauce and food packaging include personalized designs that make consumers feel involved with the company, such as Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign, and clean and concise labeling that gives consumers the most necessary information, such as ingredients.
With the increased use of mobile technology, packaging is also beginning to utilize packaging mobilization such as Bluetooth LE and near-field communication to connect with consumers' smartphones over a short distance and provide more information.
In short, it's becoming increasingly clear that consumers are turning snack-like foods into meals with sauces and dressings.
Trends in Sanitation During the Filling and Packaging Processes
Early in 2016, the FDA introduced new legislation to improve sanitation of liquid food packaging, which protects consumers from potentially harmful bacteria that can contaminate sauces, dressings, and other popular liquid food products.
This bit of legislation is specifically called Title 21, and it covers the current manufacturing practices in manufacturing, packing, and holding human food.
Among the legislation are sections that cover various areas of food packaging, including making sure that water is "safe and of adequate sanitary quality" prior to filling.
Operators of filling, assembling, and packaging machines are also required to protect against contamination by following certain steps such as using quality control operations with properly identified and controlled critical control points throughout manufacturing, sufficient cleaning and sanitizing, and providing physical protection against contamination.
Because of the combined increase in popularity of sauces and other liquid foods and the improvements in sanitation during the liquid filling and packaging processes, we are likely to see liquid foods continue to become higher priorities in food packaging.
These products and their packaging will benefit from more innovations, broadening the market for these products while streamlining filling and other manufacturing processes.’
Krys Beal, sales and marketing, E-Pak Machinery, has over 19 years experience in the manufacturing equipment industry with expertise in filling, capping and bottling equipment.