Packaged snacks disrupting meal time
Snacking has become the favored way to eat, but has the packaging kept up with demand?
Traditional eating patterns – three square meals per day – are no more. What was once a breakfast smoothie may serve as a late-day snack or tomorrow’s lunch. Through this haphazard way of eating, snacking has become the norm in our daily fast-tracked lives. And with so much offered in smaller, on-the-go portions and healthier options, it’s no wonder.
According to our recent online reader poll, “Snacking in America” results, people choose either late afternoon or mid-morning to reach for a snack (41% and 40% respectively). Night owls came in next, with 16%. Before dinner snacking saw just 3%, revealing that people are likely eating a regular evening meal.
Consumers want snack foods made with healthy ingredients with the same (if not better) taste as their unhealthy snack counterparts, more transparency and on-the-go styles in easy to open, resealable packaging. Enter some new snack foods out on shelves that may answer the consumer’s call, no matter the time of day they go to the refrigerator or cupboard.
A square jar in a round category
A staple in many restaurants and homes alike, chips and salsa are a favorite. 2 Sisters’ Salsa, based in Louisiana, is a newcomer to store aisles, offering a Cajun twist to the food category. The company had the right recipe, but needed assistance on the packaging. 2 Sisters’ chose a 16-ounce square jar to stand out on shelves – far from the typical round jar in the category – but couldn’t find the right supplier. Berlin Packaging’s (berlinpackaging.com) Studio One Eleven design division built a custom mold and Berlin supplied the new jar, which cut unit costs for the salsa company by 25% while retaining the jar’s premium appearance and performance. The weight reduction on the new wide-mouth glass jar also allows 2 Sisters’ to ship more product for the same cost. Finding the right packaging solution worked – the salsa is now distributed to stores in eight states with more to come.
Small & snappy
New product introductions in non-traditional snack food categories are growing the snack food packaging segment, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, says in its 2016 study. And that includes those in the vegetable and fruit category.
Dole Berries has launched a small to-go package – new GO Berries! This snack-sized option is perfect for busy fruit lovers looking to enjoy their fruit on the go, as in the office, on a road trip or for kids’ lunches. In a pack of three that snap apart, the 4-ounce containers offer a fresh alternative to other snack options. The containers are ventilated for freshness and easy rinsing, thus touting “snap, rinse, go” convenience. Dole plans to roll out other GO Berries! varieties in the future.
Transparent yet bold
Squeezing more fruits and vegetables into a daily diet has become easier with the roll out of Pressed by KIND from healthy snack brand KIND. Pressed by KIND bars are made with five ingredients or less – like fruit, veggies and chia – pressed together into a bar. KIND turned to Chase Design Group (chasedesigngroup.com) to leverage cues from the juicing category and create the image of simplicity, healthfulness and freshness. Transparency has been a core component of KIND’s packaging; however, maintaining shelf stability and the need to differentiate the product from the core product line made the design team rethink its approach. The packaging features hand-drawn type, vibrant natural colors and soft textures that are true to the lead ingredients in order to tell the story without showing the product. The logo contains an interpretation of KIND’s master logo and serves to create a sub brand that can stand on its own while visually relating to the parent brand.
Reseal for freshness
Resealable packaging, which allows consumers to eat some now and save some for later, along with keeping the food fresh, is gaining in popularity, so says Holly Dunnill, marketing director of Food and Specialty Packaging, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics (dow.com).
“Food safety and freshness are key concerns for food packaging, so packages that reseal effectively are gaining popularity. We are also seeing more emphasis on packaging that helps extend food shelf life and maintain freshness, which contributes to reducing food waste, an ever-present concern in the food industry,” Dunnill says.
American Licorice incorporated a reseal tab onto its Red Vines package for its product to stay fresh, from Constantia Flexibles (cflex.com). The Spear Seal Technology includes clear BOPP labels with a removable adhesive to ensure a clean peel and reseal, and a two-color printed peel tab. Red Vines in the 16-, 32- and 64-ounce packs have Spear Seal. The packages are produced and applied in Constantia Flexibles’ Mason, OH plant and run on American Licorice’s existing VFFS equipment without any modification or any compromise to production speeds.
The future of shared snacking?
A study from consultant group Freedonia Group (freedoniagroup.com) reveals that U.S. demand for snack food packaging will see smaller (portion-control) package sizes and greater use of higher value and unique packaging. And new Twistd crisps have all of those covered.
We all know that the best snacks are shared snacks. Hornall Anderson (hornallanderson.com) came up with a new design that could be a hot trend for sharing.
Hornall Anderson design director Gareth Ball says, “In the sharing sector all you really see is one big bag everyone can dive into. But Twistd offers portion control by separating the tubes into different sections, as well as the added excitement of different flavors.”
In Twistd’s new canister packaging, four compartments open up to snack size offerings. Each of the four compartments contains a mixture of sweet potato chips, lightly salted crisps, tortillas and snacks. What’s really neat? The tube’s lid is actually a shaker. Consumers just have to give the lid a little twist to add a range of four flavors, including Sea Salt & Seaweed, BBQ & Honey, Chill & Chocolate, and Cheddar & Stilton. This multi-compartment tube allows consumers to mix snacks and flavors in different combinations.
Consumers crave healthier snack food products and are unwilling to sacrifice flavor as these are now trends in the overall snack food market. Additionally, looks matter! To survive the shelf in the snack food market, packaging must be attractive to consumers in order to gain their attention. Resealability is a key factor that will improve the odds of being a chosen snack. The best opportunities, according to the Freedonia Group, will be found in nutrition bars, savory snacks, and nuts and dried fruit applications.