- A report from Information Resources said portability and transparency are two rising trends in the world of snack packaging, according to Food Business News.
- Sally Lyons Wyatt, I.R.I.’s executive vice-president and practice leader, said 35% of consumers are looking for sustainable packaging with the products they buy.
- “These dynamics are fueling the way consumers think,” Wyatt told the publication. “First, they think of themselves. ‘What I am putting in my body to keep myself well?’ There’s also those that worry about the Earth. ‘What are we doing to have a net zero impact?’”
Now, more than ever, packaging matters. Snack packaging is becoming smaller and more sustainable. According to Euromonitor International, 1-to 3-oz packages of savory snacks tallied nearly 40% of total unit sales in the U.S. by package size in 2016. Much of this has focused on younger shoppers. StarKist, for example, has been targeting millennials with new flavor mixes of its tuna, offered in a pouch rather than a can. Since the pouches were introduced, sales have increased about 10% each year.
Most of Nielsen's top food trends of 2016 were products that are easier for people to grab and eat whenever they want. And last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that half of peoples' food budgets went toward foods that were easy to prepare and eat.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition document “Definition of Sustainable Packaging” says that costs previously borne by society, such as disposal and emissions, are now redirected to producers. That’s why numerous food and beverage product labels convey a company’s commitment to sustainability, and these are often related to carbon footprint, recycled content, certifications for sustainability, and social aspects like ethical sourcing. Brands looking to get the word out about their sustainable packaging do a great deal on social media, as millennials are the ones they are most trying to attract.
Still, for food manufacturers, it's often difficult to balance creating a convenient, portable package with one that is good for the environment. Pouches are convenient, but they are not recyclable and can create more waste. It's obviously important for companies to give the consumer what they want, both in the foods they make and the packages they put it in. A key focus for food makers should be on developing packaging that meets the public's on-the-go lifestyle as well as their interest in sustainability.