Is it true that you “eat with your eyes?”
General Mills and other food companies have switched to clear packaging on many products, to better showcase the ingredients inside.
“Consumers eat with their eyes,” says JoAnne Garbe, a research and development manager within our Innovation, Technology and Quality (ITQ) division. “If we can show off amazing, luscious-looking ingredients, we help our consumers. And buying something becomes more intuitive for them.”
General Mills has been riding the clear packaging wave with several products in recent years. They range from snacks, cereals, energy bars, granola and meals to breakfast and lunch products served at schools.
The list includes:
-Old El Paso tortillas
-Pillsbury Heat-N-Go Mini Pancakes
-LÄRABAR ÜBER bars
-Nature Valley Nut Crisps
-Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch Bars
-Gluten Free Chex Original Oatmeal
-Granolas from Chex, Cascadian Farm and Nature Valley
In addition, some Gardetto’s snacks have had clear windows since the 1980s, a move that led to their growing popularity.
And, our Convenience and Foodservice team developed Pillsbury Minis, a sweet-baked goods product available in a clear, clamshell package.
All of our entrée products served in K-12 schools also have clear packaging, and include Old El Paso Fold ’N Go Gorditas, Pillsbury Mini Pancakes, Pillsbury Mini Waffles and Pillsbury Mini Cinnis.
Having a clear window on many of our products in a school environment is considered mandatory for our package design, because children want to see exactly what they are choosing on the lunch line.
But clear packaging does have at least one drawback.
Continued exposure to light limits the shelf life of a food product. General Mills has done extensive testing on products that are stored in clear packaging to ensure the great quality remains, JoAnne says.
Converting to clear packaging does require additional technical work to maintain the eating experience and shelf life, says Jason Robinson, a senior engineer within ITQ. “Technology has definitely improved over time,” he says.
But, ultimately, clear packaging is about putting the consumer first. This philosophy remains a major part of General Mills’ investment in clear packaging.
And more and more, consumers tell us that they want to see what they are buying.
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