Grocery store shelves as crowded as most consumers’ schedules force brands to play a clever game to stay viable in snack land. As brands roll out new packages to compete for shelf space and market share, consumers race through the grocery aisles looking for goods that will keep their hectic lives from being sent back two spaces. It seems consumers want packaging that is shelf-stable, portable, single-serve, healthy, allergen-free, recloseable, eco-friendly, easy-to-read, attractive, easy-to-open, familiar and innovative for their snack packages. It is no wonder the market is scrambling in a million directions just to stay in the game and avoid losing a turn at getting noticed. Because snack packages cannot be all things to all consumers, more and more niche products are popping up in unique packaging so they can stand a chance at making it to the “Checkout Kingdom” in a consumer’s shopping cart.

Packaging lets new foods play

Snack foods are no longer just those in the snacks and bakery aisles of the grocery store. More and more brands are packaging new foods so they will be more snack-able. One example is the Skippy Singles peanut butter snack pack. This resealable cup includes six individually packaged and sealed 1.5-ounce cups of peanut butter. These cups can be used for dipping or spreading onto other snack food. They can even be eaten all on their own. The reclosable cup that holds the peanut butter packs has a clear front panel so consumers can easily see how much peanut butter is left.  The cup makes it easy for consumers to grab the pack for on-the-go use or to store just about anywhere such as a locker, cabinet, desk drawer or glove box. The Skippy Singles come in creamy and natural to offer a quick meal fix, on-the-go snack or post-workout refuel.

Bacon is not a typical snack food. While it is a popular ingredient and often the basis for extreme food trends found on the internet, it’s not the most portable or shelf stable of snacks. Bacon flavored foods have gained popularity, but those foods may not pack the porky punch bacon enthusiasts crave. Oscar Mayer has found a way to package the trendy pig candy for on the go consumption with their new bacon jerky.

“It’s obvious that people love bacon,” says Sarah Jones, senior brand manager for Oscar Mayer Bacon. “But we know not everyone has the time to whip out their skillet to make some throughout the day. With Bacon Jerky, Oscar Mayer is providing bacon enthusiasts with an easy and satisfying way to snack on bacon while on the move.”

Oscar Mayer bacon jerky offers up 100% real bacon and touts 11g of protein per serving. The 3-ounce ready –to-eat packages of bacon jerky were designed by Landor ( to stay true to the overall look of the Oscar Mayer line. The jerky can be found alongside other Oscar Mayer goods in the refrigerated meat case, but the product is also shelf-stable for on-the-go snacking.

Winning design moves ahead

Standing out on crowded shelves can be one of the biggest tricks for snack packages, especially for new snacks that consumers may not be looking for. Pop Secret recently launched bagged, pre-popped popcorn. The pre-popped snack allows consumers to bring popcorn with them on-the-go when they won’t have access to popping devices such as microwaves or stovetops. The 3.5-ounce bags, which were designed by ANTHEM (, focus on family- and kid-friendly fun by featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the package. The brand wanted to appeal to both moms and children in the store while also reinforcing Pop Secret’s natural links to entertainment. The brand plans to work with new franchises every six months to keep the packaging fresh, fun and relevant for consumers.

Snack packs restore player health points

Typically snack food has been thought of as “junk food.” The greasiness of potato chips and the sugar overload of snack cakes can have shoppers losing a turn, but a lot has changed in recent years. Consumers want to eat food that is good for them. They also want to eat that food conveniently.

LÄRABAR Renola packs are rethinking the granola snack concept. Many are familiar with the granola and cereal bar as a healthier snacking option, but Renola has removed the bar format while keeping the packs convenient for on-the-go eating. The single serve pouches offer up a wealth of healthier nuts, fruits, seeds and spices for a grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, kosher snack.

“People love snacking, and we want them to feel good about their choices,” says Julia Wing-Larson, marketing manager for LÄRABAR. The healthier granola alternative can be eaten directly from the pouch or mixed with other snack foods such as instant oatmeal or yogurt cups.

Tribe Hummus and Pita packs are serving up everything a consumer needs for a healthy snack in a convenient cup. The shelf stable cups make it easy to keep the snack handy and the single container for both the chips and hummus means consumers don’t have to remember to pack the crackers and the dip separately. The cups feature a simple pop top and a window so consumers get a clear view of the hummus. Inside, a bag of pita chips features illustrations on the many ways consumers can dip the chips.

“Innovation is crucial to Tribe’s success,” says Adam Carr, CEO of Tribe Mediterranean Foods.  “We’re constantly looking to create products that best serve the taste buds and lifestyles of our consumers. Our new To Go pack allows us to be more mobile and not only play in snack-heavy spaces, but also stand out as a smarter, more healthful option.”

Sensible Portions brands just introduced new, stackable Garden Veggie Chips in a familiar snack packaging canister. The chips bring veggies to the snacking experiences and offer them up in a 5-ounce canister. The paperboard canister serves as a sturdy packaging option for consumers that want to grab chips to go without worrying about crushing the package.

Whether exploring new territory for bacon or keeping healthy hummus handy at all times, snack packaging takes the game to a whole new level for consumer convenience. The game board isn’t final yet, either. Small brands and niche products are dealing themselves in with plenty of potential to cross the finish line by spinning together a winning combination.