Brown Bagging Becomes Fashionable


Brand week says: Brown bagging is at an all-time high since 2001, per the NPD Group, Port Washington, New York. Adults ages 18-and-older consumed some 8.5 billion brown-bag lunches last year (38 bagged lunches per capita compared to 35 in 2006). 

Nearly 12% of lunchtime opportunities were brought from home as of the year ended February 2008. In contrast, the February  2007 figure was 11.3%. Of those polled, cost-saving was the primary motivation.

“Brown bagging has been on the rise every year we look at it,” said Harry Balzer, vp at NPD Group, Chicago. “The options available to us for carried products do make life easier than people going out to eat at lunchtime.”

The return to brown bagging has prompted food companies to reexamine their portfolio of brands. Products that were formerly “lost segments” of a company’s business now have a chance to shine, said Paul Leinwand, vp at Booz & Co., Chicago.