This content was archived on 23 Feb 2013.

Retail grocery category - ambient

The ambient grocery category is one of the broadest both in terms of the number of products available and packaging types used.  Much has already been done to optimise packaging but there are still further opportunities.

Ambient covers grocery products stored at room temperature. It includes: coffee and tea, jams and pickles, confectionery, cakes and biscuits, tinned food, cooking sauces, crisps and snacks, cereals, cooking and salad oils, rice and pasta and pet food. 

Pack formats include bottles, jars, cans, pouches, cartons, cartonboard and film.

Scope for making efficiencies: 

  • optimising packaging through the whole supply chain;
  • reducing waste in the supply chain and manufacturing process; and
  • improving the application of storage and usage guidance to reduce household food and drink waste.
  • Supporting the retail supply chain

Areas for improved efficiency:

  • Smarter packaging; lightweighting, introducing recycled content and designing for recyclability are the more common ways of optimising packaging. 
  • Glass containers are widely used in the ambient category and a lot of work around lightweighting has already been done by industry and through the Glassright Projects.
  • The canned foods and pet foods industry in the UK sells nearly five billion cans every year.  Even the smallest of changes, such as lightweighting or down-gauging, will lead to substantial cost, material and carbon savings without compromising product quality. 

Helping the consumer:

Despite the long shelf-life of foods in this category, research shows that ambient foods are still sometimes wasted by consumers.

Retailers, brands and manufacturers can help address this by:

  • improving the application of storage, usage and freezing guidance (for both unopened and part-used packs);
  • providing inspirational recipe ideas; and
  • providing a range of pack sizes and hermetic pack seals.

Research, case studies and trials

Coming soon...