Do we picnic more as a society? I believe that if aliens were to peruse any local supermarket, they would reach the conclusion that Americans are picnicking frequently, which is quite funny as that would require an increase in leisure time. Sadly, the real reason our foods look like picnic foods is due to the complete lack of leisure time. No, Martians, we are not grazing in a beautiful meadow with our loved ones; we are eating in our cars, at our desks or simply while walking down the street. The good news is this: New package designs and formats are constantly launching to help us better eat on the go.
According to Mark Lozano, sales manager, North America at tna (tnasolutions.com), the snack food market is growing as more consumers replace meals with frequent snacks.
“The snack food market is growing at an incredible pace at the moment. In particular, the desire for relaxation is one of the main drivers behind the current market growth. A lot of consumers consider snacks as small treats in between meals or rewards at the end of a stressful day. As such, indulgence remains a key motivator when it comes to snacking and to further enhance this sense of indulgence and relaxation a lot of consumers are opting for high quality, gourmet snacks. These are often snack products that use premium ingredients – such as pink Himalayan salt, for example – or snacks with decadent flavor combinations like jalapeño and cream cheese, and crispy textures that can offer that extra bit of crunch,” says Lozano.
Gourmet on the go
The Busseto Foods California Snackin’ snack kit is the ultimate product for premium snacking on the go. Complete with pre-measured and sliced cheese, salami, crackers and almonds, the snack is perfect for sharing, and great paired with wine. The kit allows consumers to take it all with them in one convenient package. These kits are well-received as they recently were awarded 3rd Place for the Buyer’s Choice Award from the 2017 New Product Awards at The Fresno Food Expo. Other cheese snack packages have caught consumers’ eyes, notably the Sargento snacks packs that feature cheese, nuts and dried fruit. The addition of meat in this case makes for a fun charcuterie board on-the-go experience.
Because of a new package innovation, Brazilian consumers can now eat ice cream at the time and place of their choosing. Nestlé Brasil Ice Cream launched a series of 140ml mono packs with a peelable in mold labeling (IML) lid, complete with a spoon in the lid. Plastic packaging producer Plasticos Regina (plasticosregina.com.br), ice cream producer Froneri, and IML label producer Verstraete IML (verstraete-iml.com) collaborated to create the new IML lid.
Froneri’s goal was to create a lid with an easy-to-remove spoon so that consumers can open their ice cream, remove the spoon from the lid and enjoy the ice cream immediately. An extra advantage for packagers is that the IML spoon-in-lid packaging eliminates two steps in the regular production process: The label does not need to be adhered afterwards since it is integrated into the lid and the spoon is an integral part of the lid. Together they form a perfect whole.
“The spoon is extremely easy to remove from inside the lid and the system is both safe and hygienic. In addition, the spoon is of the perfect size, is lightweight, sturdy and stays securely in place when filling, transporting and stacking our packages,” says Bruno Dedomenici, associate industrial director at Plasticos Regina.
The new ice cream mini pack has already won a prestigious Gold Award in the DuPont Awards competition for Packaging Innovation as it satisfies the consumer desire for on-the-go products.
It isn’t just snacking that we are doing more of on the go; turns out we are eating meals on the go too. A report by Transparency Market Research (transparencymarketresearch.com) reveals that the global on-the-go breakfast packaging market is expanding at a steady CAGR of 5.1% between 2017 and 2025. At this pace, the market’s valuation of $743 million in 2016 will reach $1.1 billion by 2025.
Growth is fueled by several factors, including changing lifestyles, with more consumers preferring on-the-go food and a growing number of families with both partners working, leaving less time for home cooking. Also, rising per capita expenditure on prepared food, generally on account of rising purchasing power, is also generating a high demand for the on-the-go breakfast packaging market.
The report goes on to state that the availability of natural and organic on-the-go foods with additional health claims will present opportunities to the market. Already hot items with consumers include single-serve oatmeal in microwavable cups, granola bars, individual cereal boxes and pouches, and drinkable yogurts.
Even babies want to eat gourmet on the go, of course, and the pouch is the best option for that. Baby food has come a long way over the years, from single fruits in jars to exciting blends of superfoods, vegetables, grains and protein for a healthy snack, or meal, for young consumers. Serenity Kids announces the availability of its Paleo-compliant baby food that launched last month. High in fat, low in sugar and an ideal first food for babies over six months, Serenity Kids baby food is a combination of premium, humanely raised meats and organic vegetables.
Born from couple Serenity and Joe’s desire to create a healthier food choice for their future baby, the duo set out to create a baby food with higher nutritional, ethical and taste standards. The result is a lineup of complete gourmet meals in convenient, squeezable 4-ounce pouches.
Wine on the go
What’s a picnic without a gourmet beverage in tow? The idea of wine moving to cans is not a new concept, but what is worth noting is how many brands, large and small, are shifting their wines to cans to reach a broader audience. Millennials make up a large percentage of the overall wine consumption in the U.S. These consumers are more open-minded than past generations to try new varieties and package formats.
According to data from Nielsen (nielsen.com), can popularity has reached the wine category, with total sales of $14.5 million as of June 2016, up from $6.4 million the prior year. Overall canned wine sales continue to grow in 2017. The category now includes over a dozen brands delivering a variety of wines for on-the-go consumption.
One company has been pioneering the canned wine craze and has designed a fun package that marries aesthetics and convenience. Union Wine Co.’s canned wine can be found in a variety of stores and offer consumers a fun, playful approach to wine consumption and is a true testament to the growing canned wine market. Just three years after bringing the cans to market, Union now produces 50% of their wine in cans and has trouble keeping it on the shelves. The brand has gone from producing 200,000 cases in 2016 to 350,000 cases in 2017, largely thanks to the canned wine growth.
For ready meals at home or food service and vending environments, Sealed Air Cryovac (sealedair.com) introduces its Simple Steps line of vacuum skin-packaged prepared meals meant for the microwave. The line offers a gourmet presentation and superior freshness. The steam-assisted cooking technology and self-vents on the package releases heat and pressure to prevent over-cooking.
“The Cryovac Simple Steps line of ready meals was created to provide a solution for the busy consumer who desires high quality and convenient plated meals that cater to their on-the-go lifestyle. The unique, vacuum packaging preserves the food’s freshness, flavor and integrity and allows for extended shelf life,” says Sealed Air.
The flavor and freshness is maintained through the vacuum skin package that is also easy to open with stay cool sides for the consumer. It can be run on a variety of Darfresh vacuum skin packaging equipment. The packaging technology works well in foodservice: colleges, hospitals, restaurants and vending, but also in retail settings, such as heat and eat meals at the supermarket. It works well for both refrigerated and frozen meals.
“The vacuum seal packaging removes oxygen through the sealing process, which makes it ideal for both refrigerated and frozen meal solutions. By eliminating the potential for ice crystal formation, the product stays fresh and ready to heat longer than other microwaveable meals while still maintaining maximum flavor,” says the company.
On-the-go consumption is on the rise in all categories from breakfast foods, snacks, prepared meals and wine. What’s notable with all of these products is that they are gourmet items. This isn’t just your average string cheese-in-a-purse kind of trend. This is upscale meats, cheeses and nuts, paleo baby food and quality wine, all packaged for consumers to easily take with them. Be it to a picnic or to a cubicle, today’s packaged foods and beverages grant us all more flexibility, more convenience and more options than ever before.