Ever since adopting a vegetarian diet 8 years ago, I've been an avid buyer of soy-based "meat" products from the Kellogg's brand MorningStar Farms. While I don't eat them every day, it is nice to occasionally cure a craving for chicken nuggets or riblets without having to indulge in the real deal.
As much as I love the MorningStar Farms products and the variety they've added to my meals, I've never enjoyed the brand's packaging. Even before I took on the role as associate editor at Flexible Packaging Magazine, the design of the packaging, which until recently consisted of rectangular cardboard boxes, always irked me. Once the box had been opened, it was almost impossible to preserve the contents without taping down the flaps or wrapping it in a plastic bag. Freezer burn was always inevitable, and transporting the packaging was a disaster as well.
However, while perusing the frozen food aisle at the grocery store last week, I came across something that really caught my eye. MorningStar Farms has officially made the switch from rigid to flexible packaging. The vegetarian food brand has ditched its carboard boxes and is now offering a variety of its frozen food products in a flexible packaging format.
Customers, including myself, can now purchase the brand's faux sausage patties, black bean crumbles, parmesan garlic wings, veggie burgers and more in resealable plastic pouches.
Coming after an announcement from Kellog's that several of its brands will be upgrading to flexible packaging this year, MorningStar Farms cites the decision to change up its packaging as one that’s both convenient and eco-friendly.
On average, the new packaging uses 38 percent less material than before, according to the brand's website. While the bags themselves aren’t made from a recyclable plastic, fewer materials are being used when producing the packaging and the bags are reusable, which does contribute to its level of sustainability.
The flexible bag also takes up less space than previous MorningStar Farms packaging. After items are taken out of the bags, customers can easily compress and fold the bag down to create more room in their freezer.
Finally, to add another layer of simplicity, the packaging features a resealable closure. This closure helps fight freezer burn, which increases the longevity of the MorningStar Farms product within the bag.
While there may be a variety of different reasons why a brand such as MorningStar Farms may decide to transition from rigid to flexible packaging, it’s fairly obvious that convenience and sustainability, which are both extremely valuable to the brand's target market, are huge factors.
As a vegetarian, I have to admit that the brand's new packaging does make the product more attractive to me. I appreciate that I can now enjoy MorningStar Farms food with a less significant impact on the planet, something that goes hand-in-hand with vegetarianism, and a flexible bag means that my roommates won't be annoyed with me for filing our freezer with a plethora of cardboard boxes (those things really do take up a lot of space).
What do you think of MorningStar Farms' new packaging? What’s your prediction for which brand will make the switch next? Let us know in the comment section below or by tweeting at @flexpackmag.