Singles go multiple

by Lynn Petrak
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Single-serve packaging sold in multipacks appeals to value-conscious, convenience driven on-the-go snackers.

Proof positive that Americans are on the go in a big way: the continued demand for single-serve products sold in multipacks or larger bulk formats.

This packaging format reflects the dueling trends of on-the-go eating, convenience and value. With the Nielsen organization reporting that 91% of consumers saying they snack at least once a day, it’s no wonder that people want a good-size stash of grab-and-go goodies at the ready in their home pantries.

Packaging companies increasingly have responded to such wants and needs.  Paul Garms, product and marketing manager for Bosch Packaging Technology, New Richmond, Wis., said that a growing number of snack food makers are utilizing both single serve and carton packaging for their products.

“On the family pack side, we’re doing a lot with flow wrappers and multipacks,” he said, citing products like sandwich crackers and cookies.

Many major snack food brands have gotten in on this trend of packaging single serve portions in a tray and overwrap format, from Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelēz International’s Chips Ahoy! and Oreo on the cookie side to Ritz and Goldfish on the cracker side, among many others.

Boxes and cartons are another large-size packaging format for single-serve bags and pouches. Last year, Frito-Lay, Plano, Texas, launched a line of Ready to Go snacks, with cartons containing 5 to 10 single-serve products like Grandma’s cookies, Sunchips, Rold Gold pretzel thins and more.

Mid-size and specialty brands also are multiplying their snacks. HomeFree, Windham, N.H., now packs its line of gluten-free mini cookies, for instance, in a snack multipack, with six single-serve bags in a tray and overwrap package. Another example is a 12-count value bulk multipack containing 4.4-oz bags of 100-calorie Skinny Pop popcorn.

Multipacks are also a way to deliver the differentiation of variety to consumers. Rocco Fucetola, vice-president of sales and marketing for BluePrint Automation Manufacturing, Colonial Heights, Va., said that “multi” means more than just numbers in multipacks.

“Some companies are putting different products or different varieties in the same carton,” he observed.

To that end, in addition to just buying multipacks of single-serve packages of Chips Ahoy!, consumers may pick up variety multipacks, with Chips Ahoy! and Nutter Butter or even a salty-sweet combination tray pack of Chips Ahoy! cookies and Ritz Bits crackers.
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