Health-conscious consumers influence baking and snack packaging innovations

by Jorge Izquierdo, PMMI
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Packaging with single-use portions can effectively demonstrate and communicate a snack brand’s efforts to keep the consumer’s health in mind.
 

While snacking may have once been synonymous with cheating on a diet—or treating yourself to a forbidden sweet—today’s health-conscious consumers have turned snacking into a good habit. Now, their busy, on-the-go lifestyles have them reaching for functional, nutritious snacks to fuel them throughout their day.

Amid these shifts in consumer behavior, the snack industry stands to outperform the overall food market and experience a 3% growth increase through 2022, according to the “2016 Food Packaging Trends and Advances” from PMMI. The combination of this consumer-driven change to the snack landscape and positive industry growth is also changing the way that brand managers package their products. Suppliers of packaging technologies are responding to calls for single-use portions, easy access to full nutritional and brand information, features that protect freshness to replace chemical preservatives and sustainability benefits to match healthier choices to strides toward a healthier planet.

Less is more — and looking good

Packaging with single-use portions can effectively demonstrate and communicate a snack brand’s efforts to keep the consumer’s health in mind while supporting overall brand identity on the shelf. Packaging single servings of snacks with uniquely shaped containers outfitted with eye-catching graphics marry the promise of healthy lifestyle choices with unique and powerful design. These snack food developments have helped to propel some of the sector’s most prominent packaging innovations. For example, the need for manufacturers to run greater varieties of portion sizes, shapes and styles and accommodate single-serve, multi-serve and bulk packaging applications has led to vertical/form/fill and seal equipment with unprecedented flexibility and faster changeover times. The need for flexibility is driving packagers to seek shorter changeover times over speed of throughput in machine design priorities.

Interactive packaging communicates value

As snacks are increasingly packaged in single-use portions, supplying consumers with all the relevant information about a snack brand can be difficult with so little labeling real estate. Quick Response (QR) codes, augmented reality and interactive labels are creating ways to engage consumers with more online content through their smartphones. Snack brand managers can use this technology to demonstrate and highlight purposeful packaging components that increase functionality, sustainability and explain healthy ingredient choices.

Seal it safely for later

As consumers become increasingly health conscious, there is a growing demand for snack brand managers to accommodate their on-the-go lifestyles with healthy snacks packaged for convenience.[1] One way snack brand managers can answer this consumer demand is by integrating flexible packaging of multi-serve snacks with resealability. As opposed to single-use portioned snack products, these multi-serve snacks require resealing in order to properly maintain freshness and extend shelf life after consumers have gotten their snack fix. Resealable pouches with tear strip openings are a common solution for reducing food waste in multi-serve snacks. The sealable adhesives and magnetic peel formulations are also becoming more environmentally friendly, making them a popular choice for sustainable packaging. Some resealable pouches reserve half of the opening for gusseted handles to produce a pour spout for dispensing multi-serve snacks conveniently. Not only does this allow consumers to store snacks over an extended period of time, but it also ultimately reduces food waste.

Solutions for evolving health and wellness trends

Last week, baking and snack brand managers discovered solutions for single-use portions, greater line flexibility, resealability and other innovations in packaging at Pack Expo East 2017 in Philadelphia.  Those looking to solve key issues facing food and beverage processing operations can now look to the upcoming ProFood Tech April 4-6.. This biennial show in Chicago will bring the industry together and help attendees delve deeper into health and wellness trends. Powered by tradeshow leaders Pack Expo, Anuga and the International Dairy Foods Association, the event will showcase advances in food and beverage processing that are revolutionizing the food industry. ProFood Tech is the only event in North America focused exclusively on all food and beverage sectors, including baking and snack. The show will bring together 6,000 processors to see the latest technologies from more than 400 of the world’s top suppliers.

Visit www.profoodtech.com to learn more.

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