To stand out in a crowd, you might dress in bright colors, wear a funny hat, hold up a sign or wave a flag. Baking and snack food companies are trying similar strategies when it comes to standing out on the crowded retail shelf. And with brands offering more products and snack choices than ever before, the challenge is becoming increasingly difficult.

Packaging design is a critical aspect of standing out against the competition, whether in-store or online. Snack food packaging needs to tell the consumer a story, communicate what the product is, who it is for and ultimately, project value to the consumer.

With consumers jumping on the wellness bandwagon, transparency and honesty are highly valued by consumers, especially in terms of production methods and ingredients. Minimalist packaging can project an air of simplicity and wholeness that brands seek to benefit from.

Minimalist designs strip away excess noise, focusing instead on the essential elements and substance of the product itself. This design trend focuses on color and typography — with minimal messaging on the package. Simple shapes, color and text are used to connect with consumers, giving the product shelf appeal. Contrasting colors also can provide a clean look, making essential information visible on the package.

The goal is to both grab people’s attention and be genuinely memorable. To accomplish this, snack food manufacturers are moving to a bright, upbeat color palette with high saturation to make a brand pop and also differentiate the many flavors in the brand from one another. This type of striking visual design can appeal to consumers, harnessing an element of surprise and fun in the packaging design that can be effective in ensuring a product stands above the rest.

On the flip side, when it comes to color, one might consider nude a little boring. But in reality, this palette covers everything from peach, rosy or ochre undertones to creamy and chocolatey hues. This clean look gives packaging a neutral, earthy look that can be playful, soft and appealing. These nude tones can be accented by a pop of candy-colored pastel hues or unusual shapes to make them stand out. Additionally, clean white labels are a popular choice to complement, rather than steal the spotlight from these unique color combinations and designs.

With the consumer trend toward health, wellness and specific diet movements such as keto and gluten-free, diet and ingredient callouts, displayed in easy-to-read fonts, are a must. This includes emphasizing the product’s ingredients, how much of that ingredient is included and what kind of diet it is accommodating.

Authenticity is important to earning consumers’ trust. Baking and snack companies are looking to translate this to their packaging by developing engaging packaging that emphasizes the realness aspect. They are employing strategies such as a front-of-bag window to showcase the product and provide consumers the opportunity to verify the ingredient simplicity described on the packaging.

Plastic-free packaging is another trend moving forward via scientific advancements in renewable and compostable packaging materials. These materials are increasing in popularity as brands are looking to take care of the earth when it comes to their design choices and reducing waste. From mushroom-based foam cushioning to plastics formed from algae, alternative materials are leading the way to a much more sustainable packaging industry.

As consumers become more aware and empowered by their choice between plastic-free packaging, brands continue to make responsible choices when it comes to packaging materials. A great place to source these innovative, environmentally friendly packaging solutions is Pack Expo, being held in Las Vegas from Sept. 23-25. Produced and owned by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, this event will bring together more than 30,000 attendees, including 5,000 international visitors from more than 125 countries, and 2,000-plus exhibiting companies spanning nearly 900,000 net square feet of exhibit floor.

The show features The Reusable Packaging Pavilion, sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association, where sustainable packaging solutions to help reduce waste will be on display in the Upper South Hall. Attendees looking for award-winning packaging solutions should be sure to visit the Showcase of Packaging Innovations, sponsored by Dow as well as the Containers and Materials Pavilion, located in the Lower South Hall, showcasing the latest in paperboard, glass, metal and plastic, flexible and resealable packaging, as well as containers and materials.

Registration is $30 through Aug. 30 after which the price increases to $100. For more information and to register online, click here.