Portability reigns king in traditional and new snacks

by Nico Roesler
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Frozen fresh juice pops
Fresh juices are now being frozen to be taken on the go.

SAVANNAH, GA. — Portability and transparency are two leading trends in the world of snack packaging. Now, more than ever, packaging matters.

These trends are being fueled by the way consumers think and data from Information Resources, Inc. (I.R.I.), shows that people are thinking differently about how their snacks are packaged. Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice-president and practice leader at I.R.I., said a recent I.R.I. study shows 35% of consumers said they want sustainable packaging on their products. If you break that number down by generation, more than 50% of those consumers are 25 to 44 years old. Of those wanting sustainably packaged snacks, 47% want biodegradable packaging.

Including attributes like sustainability, biodegradability or recyclability all add to the transparency of a product, Ms. Lyons Wyatt said. When combined with claims and certifications like non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free and organic, products are seeing growth in the market.

Sally Lyons Wyatt, I.R.I.
Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice-president and practice leader at I.R.I.

“These dynamics are fueling the way consumers think,” she said. “First, they think of themselves. ‘What I am putting in my body to keep myself well?’ There’s also those that worry about the Earth. ‘What are we doing to have a net zero impact?’”

Portability is also key as consumers continue to look for on-the-go meal supplements and replacements.

“Portable snacks are being reimagined with varieties of benefits from old and new trends,” Ms. Lyons Wyatt said. “Different variations of snacks that might not have been portable before are now being made portable.”

Evolve Kefir bottled probiotic smoothie
Smoothies with probiotics continue to roll out new portable bottle concepts.

Examples she provided at SNAXPO 2017 held April 1-4 in Savannah include fresh juices that are now being frozen to be taken on the go. Farmers’ cheese is back, rising in popularity and being packaged in resealable portable pouches. Smoothies with probiotics continue to roll out new portable bottle concepts.

Outside of retail formats, quick-service restaurants (Q.S.R.s) and limited-service restaurants (L.S.R.s) are providing new opportunities for on-the-go snacking. When I.R.I. asked consumers if they consider and/or go to Q.S.R. and L.S.R. locations for their snack needs, 42% said they go one to two times per week, an increase of 3% over 2015, while 11% said they go more than three times per week, an increase of 4%. Together, that is over 53% of consumers moving away from traditional retail stores anywhere from one to five times per week.

An example of a Q.S.R. venturing into portable snacking is the Zoe’s Kitchen restaurant franchise. It provides consumers pre-made, to-go clear plastic packages featuring pita bread, chicken, vegetables and even hummus.

Zoe's Kitchen to-go packages
Zoe’s Kitchen provides consumers pre-made, to-go clear plastic packages.

In traditional retail locations, smaller portions are continuing to rise in popularity as they lend themselves more to portability. According to Euromonitor International, 1- to 3-oz packages of savory snacks reached almost 40% of total unit sales in the United States by package size in 2016. Meanwhile, 4- to 6-oz packages made up about 16% of unit sales, 7- to 9-oz packages made up 19% and larger packages were all below 15% and have been declining over the past five years.

“Portable formats are really excelling in the market,” said Jared Koerten, senior food analyst, Euromonitor International. “We’ve seen strong growth from smaller pack sized in savory snacks. The push for portability is not limited to snacks, as staple foods are going to innovate in this area as well.” 
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By Paul 4/11/2017 12:27:50 PM
CPG companies that provide good tasting healthy snacks for each consumer while providing packages that are earth friendly will grab share from their competitors quickly