Center Aisle Packaging

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Rethinking Center Aisle Basics

Smart Packaging

Rethinking Center Aisle Basics


Grocery shopping is a necessity, a task that is performed by almost all adults. But, the grocery shopping experience is about to change.

The millennial generation has surpassed Baby Boomers to become the largest generational group in our population. Since millennial spending is anticipated to rise steadily over the coming years, they will have a substantial impact on the economy. These young consumers are transitioning from living at home to living on their own, creating a significant influence on the grocery experience. In fact, millennials currently make up the largest percentage of primary grocery shoppers.1 And more than half of organic shoppers are millennials with children.2 The engagement and spending power of this generation means their shopping motivations and needs will drive store profit.

The center of the store represents about 75% of total grocery sales.3 Clearly, center store aisles are the foundation of the traditional shopping experience and drive store profitability. However, these aisles are struggling to attract shoppers. So how can retailers renew consumers’ interest in the center of the store?

Savvy private label brand owners and retailers have recognized the opportunity to cater to consumers seeking the convenience and value that is delivered in the center of the store. In one example of this, Bemis and Red Gold® collaborated to rethink center aisle pantry basics for meaningful brand revitalization and shelf appeal.

What is driving change?

Center-store sales have seen minimal growth over the past five years, rising only 7% between 2011 and 2016, less than half the growth rate of the perimeter of the store.4 Center store sales are in decline, especially with millennial shoppers. Millennials perceive the center of the store as uninviting, unhealthy and unnecessary.5 The packaging formats found in these aisles, such as metal cans and oversized multi-use bottles, feel old fashioned to younger shoppers.6 Consumers are also raising their concern over sustainable packaging solutions, causing retailers to put pressure on private label brands to attract shoppers back to the center aisles of the store.

Private label brands have two key opportunity areas when it comes to driving center store growth:

1. Organic product offerings

  • Millennials are gravitating towards brands with exclusive flavor offerings and “Better For You” ingredients.7

2. Innovative packaging formats

  • 42% of millennials think private label foods are more innovative.7

An innovative solution

Bemis and Red Gold have partnered to develop a pre-portioned organic tomato past pouch, the first in the organic space. Driven by consumer insights, the pouch attracts today’s shoppers and meets sustainability demands.

Usage research showed that consumers rarely use the entire contents of a tomato paste can. Consumers open the can, measure out the amount the recipe requires and store the remaining paste in the refrigerator. The can lingers in the refrigerator unused for an extended time period, leading to spoilage and waste. The open can poses a real safety concern with cuts and cross contamination from other products within the refrigerator.

The new Red Gold® Truly Wholesome™ Organic Portion Perfect™ tomato paste pouch delivers consumer convenience with mess-free, pre-measured portions of two tablespoons each. Consumers simply tear the package open, dispense the product, and toss the pouch. There is no excess product waste or need to measure the correct portion. The new flexible pouch provides a solution for consumers preparing high quality meals for an on-the-go lifestyle. The new package transforms the culinary ease of how tomato paste is used, and positions the product to young shoppers as modern, exciting and fun.

The flexible pouch delivers equal performance with less material, less weight and less waste. Each single served pouch weighs only a fraction of the metal can. Four pouches of filled product will equal one can of tomato paste.

What’s next?

This new flexible application was originally developed for foodservice-sized liquid pouches and hard-to-hold acidic products. The versatile crossover technology offers unlimited new possibilities for hard-to-hold products currently in bottles, cans or jars with a low cost, fast-to-market solution. With careful attention to consumer use and portioning, the pouch can easily and quickly address rising concerns over excessive food waste and safety. This new pouch can rethink center aisle basics and deliver meaningful brand revitalization or differentiation that center aisles and businesses vitally need.

Looking for ways to drive center store growth? Learn more about making the switch to flexible pouches in our free eBook, Going the Extra Aisle.

Sources: 1. Mintel- Grocery Retailing, US, November 2016; 2. – The Millennial Generation Becomes Parents, August 2017; 3. Kraft Foods: “The Center of the Store is Still Important” 9/4/14; 4. Mintel- Perimeter of the Store, US, July 2017; 5. CPG Research/; 6. Euromonitor blog; January 2014; 7. Mintel – Private Label Foods: What’s Driving Purchase, US, February 2015.


Peter Wright
Marketing Manager