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See-Through Food Packaging Boosts Sales

From the Wall Street Journal

The grocery store is having a moment of clarity. The thinking: Shoppers are more inclined to buy when they see what they’re getting.

General Mills Inc. worked for more than a year to put Larabar Uber fruit-and-nut bars in clear wrappers, says JoAnne Garbe, packaging research and development manager for the company. The effort paid off, says Julia Wing-Larson, marketing manager for Larabar. When the clear wrapper version of the bar hit shelves earlier this year consumers said, in surveys, that the bars looked like they tasted better, felt less artificial and the ingredients seemed fresher, she says.

The recipe hadn’t changed. General Mills is using more transparent packaging on its other products.

Clear packaging gives products an aura of being natural, something that more shoppers are seeking. Seeing “simple, wholesome ingredients,” can be a powerful motivation to buy, says Ms. Wing-Larson. “You eat with your eyes.”

Transparent packaging, though, is surprisingly hard to make. Food often isn’t ready for a big reveal after a package has suffered shipping, shelf stocking and other jostling. Companies scrutinize even small packaging changes because they can be expensive. Packaging also drastically affects how long food stays fresh. Light degrades many foods, making clear wrappers especially tricky to use.

Read the full article here