In the realm of snack foods, two factors are driving innovation: healthfulness and portability.
This has never been more evident than when Jared Koerten, senior analyst, Euromonitor, presented the state of the snacking industry to attendees of SNAC International’s 2016 SNAXPO conference, held March 19-22 in Houston.
One example of healthfulness and portability coming together is Mondelez’ introduction of belVita breakfast biscuits four years ago. “This idea of portability is very much designed for products like snack bars and breakfast biscuits,” Mr. Koerten said. “This idea that you grab these better-for-you cookies on your way out the door has been very successful.”
But what about products that aren’t inherently portable? Rather than be left behind, competition is inspiring innovation, even in unlikely places.
“One great example is spreads,” Mr. Koerten suggested. Not your typical convenience product, spreads have become huge innovators for convenient packaging, thanks to products such as Nutella and Go, which is packaged with one compartment of Nutella spread and another with small breadsticks. “It’s a very convenient, grab and go for dipping and eating on the run,” he said, adding that with new line extensions of this portable product, sales have grown, despite stagnant sales for Nutella overall.
Reinforcing the healthfulness factor, Justin’s recently launched a similar product packaged with pretzels and either classic almond butter, maple almond butter or chocolate hazelnut butter. Mr. Koerten also indicated that Frito-Lay’s Rold Gold brand is partnering with Sabra to package pretzels with hummus for convenient, better-for-you dipping.
Resealability is another way that packaging innovation is creating convenience for healthy snackers. Kind has taken its packaging concept for the company’s original bars — transparent for consumers to see the product and its healthy attributes — and applied it to resealable packages for its Healthy Grains granola.
“I can see through the plastic pouch and see the product: nuts, grains. If I look at the back of the package, Kind is even encouraging me to use as a portable product,” Mr. Koerten explained. “It says ‘Enjoy this product anyway you like. Take some on the go. It goes great with Greek yogurt or pour it in a bowl of milk.’ It’s promoting the portability.”
In his address, Mr. Koerten urged snack manufacturers to not only look at the healthy attributes of their products but also the convenience factor. Just because a product doesn’t naturally lend itself to portability doesn’t mean it can’t be packaged for convenience. He also encouraged these companies to work with packaging manufacturers to come up with new and innovative ways to make their products more convenient for consumers.