No country in the world loves a snack like the United States. Whether due to Americans’ level of disposable income, demand for convenience, interest in meal replacements or desire to indulge in exotic flavor options at a reasonable price, the U.S. remains the globe’s single largest market for snack foods. As many consumers turn to snacks as a replacement for one or more of their daily meals, they seek healthier alternatives, such as fruit snacks, nuts, yogurt and bite-sized sweet goods that come in easy-to-carry packages to fit their on-the-go lifestyles. Since this trend is not new in America’s mature snack market, sales of packaged snacks are projected to grow just four percent through 2015. Global snack growth is an entirely different story however, as the opportunity to increase sales is better than ever.
Outside the U.S., snack foods are projected to increase seven percent annually to $334 billion (USD) by the end of 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts. Globally, regions such as the Asian-Pacific, Latin America and India offer snack and bakery food manufacturers the greatest potential for future growth. PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, recently released a study on the Bakery and Snack Market indicating that 62% of surveyed snack food companies identified the Asia-Pacific region as experiencing the largest percentage of growth for their products. To fuel this growth, many snack and bakery manufacturers are marketing to specific consumer tastes and highlighting the use of organic ingredients, fiber content, gluten-free and whole grains on their packaging.
One of the toughest challenges packaging snack manufacturers around the world face is producing retail ready variety-packs. Big Box stores love variety snack packs as they offer choices to consumers while enhancing merchandising and marketing efforts. Packaging OEMs are not usually as enthused about producing variety-packs, as the multi-step process is time consuming and one of the biggest culprits for slowing down the packaging line. The reason variety packs cause production line slowdowns is that they have to be touched twice in the packaging process, once when the individual item is packaged, then again to make the variety pack. Duplicate handling of each individual package, not to mention properly storing other varieties in the multi-pack as they come off the production line, adds a significant number of steps and time to create the package. Customized packaging, such as private label brands specific to each retailer that are produced in smaller runs, is another challenge facing snack manufacturers. Private-label packaging tends to be so highly customized that manual processes must be introduced to produce the package.
For more trends in snack packaging, PACK EXPO East (Feb. 16-18, 2015; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA) will feature the latest materials, containers and packaging equipment to meet consumer demand for on-the-go convenience or variety packs and streamline efficiency on the line. Also, be on the lookout for the release of PMMI Business Intelligence’s Food Packaging Trends Report, scheduled to coincide with PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2015 (Sept. 28-30, Las Vegas Convention Center).
Julie Ackerman Montross, Senior Director, PR and Communications, PMMI
PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 650 packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events such as the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows, packexpo.com, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events and educational programs.
PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International and presented jointly with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE); PACK EXPO Las Vegas, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México and EXPO PACK Guadalajara, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: PACK EXPO International 2014, Nov. 2-5 (McCormick Place, Chicago); Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International 2014; PACK EXPO East, debuting Feb. 16-18, 2015 (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia); EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2015, March 10-12, 2015 (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico); EXPO PACK México 2015, June 16-19 (Mexico City, Mexico).