Many well-known brands and start-ups are introducing snack products to take advantage of consumers’ burgeoning hunger for foods and beverages that are consumed between their regular meals. The accelerating pace of product introductions is creating opportunities in multiple packaging segments, ranging from flexible pouches to single-serve cups.
The global market for snack food is expected to reach $639 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 5.8 percent, according to Mordor Intelligence (mordorintelligence.com). The major trend in the category is new products with functional ingredients (think: natural, energy boosting, disease-preventing, etc.), as well as organic offerings.
Unilever is growing its snack business in addition to its position in food, personal care and household products. The company recently launched Growing Roots, an organic, plant-based snack brand that grew out of the company’s farming efforts. The new brand builds on Unilever’s commitment to urban farming initiatives, which establishes and funds partnerships to gain access to fresh foods and nutrition education in communities across the country.
Growing Roots snack bites and clusters are made from organic ingredients like coconut, corn and seeds. Combo flavors include: cocoa chipotle, pineapple coconut rum, maple bourbon and coconut curry. In creating the Growing Roots foods packaging, the company used bold, bright colors, featuring the stencils font used on garden sheds, and call out key certifications including vegan, organic and gluten-free. Additionally, the transparent panel on the bottom of allows consumers to see the product from store shelves. The 4 oz. snacks come in resealable bags and are being launched nationally this year.
According to the “2018 Snack Food Packaging and Processing Market Assessment and Trends” report by PMMI, lack of packaging sustainability is not yet a deal-breaker for shoppers, though brand owners and retailers are moving to improve their image. That is the case with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which includes cutting in half the environmental impact of its products by 2030.
Campbell is another major player introducing a new snack division. The company recently acquired Snyder’s-Lance, producer of snacks including Snyder’s of Hanover, Lance, Kettle Brand, KETTLE chips, Cape Cod, Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, Emerald and Late July.
Snack foods aren’t new to Campbell—which already offers the popular Goldfish crackers and Milano cookies (among others) under its Pepperidge Farm line, in addition to Arnott’s and Kelsen cookie brands. However, the company is now going a step further. The newly named Campbell Snacks will integrate the Pepperidge Farm and Snyder’s-Lance portfolios with an emphasis on creating better-for-you snacking options.
Catering to Consumers
New launches in the snack category keep coming—with unique flavors and ingredients to grab consumers’ interest. While certainly the packaging remains a top concern, product line variety is the key to getting the products to the checkout aisle.
Gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and organic options are common in the snack food aisle, sitting next to their standard competitors, giving more choice to health-conscious consumers. Enter: The Modern Pod Company, which just rolled out Hummus Pods hand-held hummus-filled snack shells. The pods are Non-GMO Project Verified and come in Zesty Lemon, Sriracha Lime and Smoky Chipotle.
The box features a clean, white and partial gray background with a pod on the front with images of the ingredients “popping” out of it. The nutritional info is on the front of pack, adding to the simple messaging. Hummus Pods come in a 9-count box and are available in the frozen foods aisle.
Savory snacks are growing at a greater rate than their sweet counterparts, notes the PMMI report. That’s great news for new Oat Thins by La Panzanella. The cracker caters to the growing population seeking options that are healthy and flavorful but answer the call for a gluten-restricted diet. The 5 oz. package shows “gluten-free” front and center in bold text. The clear window also allows consumers to see what they’re buying. A ribbon across the top of each box has the same color as the flavor graphic, tying in to the overall look and feel.
Oat Thins are a crispy cracker, made with whole oat flour. All ingredients are gluten-free certified and Non-GMO Project Verified. They come in three varieties—toasted oat, roasted garlic and rosemary—the small-batch crackers are one of many gluten-free options on the shelf.
Packaging for Well Truly Crunchy baked corn snacks was recently redesigned by B&B studio (bandb-studio.co.uk). The brand had struggled to push into mainstream snacking, which led the design agency to focus the visual identity on quality ingredients and flavor intensity.
Utilizing a black background on the packaging, rare in both healthy and mainstream snacking, the brand is brought to life with sans serif type in bright hues and a positive language that focuses on enjoyment. The corn snacks are baked not fried, and show 40 percent less fat, gluten-free and all-natural ingredients on the front of the bag in an eye-catching reverse print.
The following new packages are fully compostable, giving consumers one more thing to love about the snacks they choose.
The PizzaRound, by food service packaging provider World Centric, is a new takeout delivery pizza packaging option that reduces packaging waste. It also doesn’t contain the grease and soggy residue of typical pizza boxes, due to indented grooves at the bottom of the box, where the grease ends up and therefore, no soggy pie.
The circular box is made from renewable resources—80 percent sugarcane and 20 percent bamboo. There is no extra packaging, such as liners, tissues or “tents,” needed. It comes in 12 in. and 14 in. pizza size, with a 16 in. to come later this year. Custom printing is available for branding.
Another compostable breakthrough is the peanut bag from TC Transcontinental Packaging (tctranscontinental.com), which just won a gold award for sustainable packaging at the Flexible Packaging Association’s 2018 Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards.
The compostable peanut bag replaces laminated polypropylene bags, which have been banned at many sports stadiums. The new bag is made of two layers of certified compostable materials: The print and barrier layer is made with Futamura USA’s NatureFlex cellulose-based film, and the heat-seal layer is made with BASF’s ecovio compostable biopolymer. BASF’s Epotal water-based adhesive provides the adhesive lamination for the two plies.
Last fall, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium, through its foodservice vendor Aramark and snack food company Hampton Farms, began selling the peanuts in TC Transcontinental’s compostable bag.
Combination snacks, organic offerings—as well as clean label choices—are driving the growth of the North American market and are forecasted to continue, the PMMI report states. Add unique flavor combos and ingredients, and keep things “clean” to stay on trend. Include stand-out nutritional information on pack and single-serve options as well, the report suggests.