It’s more exciting to have a crayon box with different colors than a pack with only blue ones. The same can be true of consumers and bulk snacks especially. Although multipacks aren’t going anywhere, variety packs are increasing in demand. In fact, according to the 2018 “Snack Foods — Packaging and Processing Market Assessment and Trends” report from PMMI, flavor variety is one of the top consumer snacking trends.

Dennis Gunnell, president, Formost Fuji, said a snack manufacturer might consider mixing it up.

“You might have potato chips, corn chips and tortilla chips in the same pack,” he said. “Or you might have peanut butter sandwich crackers with cheese crackers.”

Now, snack producers are making variety packs ranging from two to seven flavors, and some with unbalanced counts inside the carton or bag, said Nico Roesler, managing editor of Baking & Snack, in the February issue of Snac World. The variance with big box snacks provides options for the whole family.

However, variety packs come with their own challenges in addition to the obstacles with multipacks. One problem occurs in the packaging line.

“When you have several lines running to build a multipack with various flavors, the risk of total line shutdown increases,” said Guilherme Vivona, director of South American operations at BluePrint Automation. “One line can affect the entire multipack operation. Additionally, there have been instances where a decrease in efficiency has been reported.”

Companies should also be aware that storage can be a big problem.

“Where do you store product while you’re building up inventory of each flavor to create your variety pack?” Mr. Gunnell said.

Calculating the space needed is crucial before making the decision to provide various flavors in the same container.