The rise in snacking and what it means for packaging design
SNACKING AS THE DEFINITIVE MEAL
We are in the midst of a perfect snack storm, as busy consumers increasingly adopt a grazing mentality over 3 set meals a day and snacking becomes a key focus across all food and beverage categories. The snacking market has been on the rise for some time, the category is worth £18bn and shows no signs of slowing. But according to Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, what is changing is the way people perceive snacking, it is no longer the optional extra. The idea of 3 meals is increasingly considered antiquated with some time poor consumers looking for ‘snackfast’ options to replace meals and graze often throughout the day.
“Snacking is continuing to evolve, but is becoming a definitive an occasion that crosses the entire supermarket,” Williams suggests.
Retailers are also responding to consumer demand and are changing fixtures both at traditional impulse fixtures and store wide, with ‘snack-fast’ options increasingly gaining prominent shelf space. The need to make impulse or ‘guilt aisles’ healthier has seen large retailers turn to listing innovative startups to meet demand. Going one step further Sainsbury’s has launched Future Brands, a team dedicated to hand picking and mentoring small disruptor brands. As a result Sainsbury’s has completely transformed their range of till side snacks to include new snack categories such as raw protein balls and chickpea puffs.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS
Whilst health and nutrition are important for those seeking a healthier lifestyle, effectively communicating a good balance between ingredients, calories and taste with a balanced colour pallet and equal weighting to flavours and benefits will cut through. In addition, packaging formats that support portion control or save for later also appeal to a more mindful consumer.
Snack-time has been upgraded, we are seeing more and more indulgent treats with boozy and/ or adventurous flavours hit shelves. Premium ingredients take center stage in snacking NPD, according a recent Nielsen report, and exquisite packaging with premium finishes support more refined propositions.
Today’s consumers are looking for much more from a brand than just an indulgent treat. Brands that go some way to alleviate guilt from a self/ society/ planet perspective are winning over consumers. But purpose doesn’t have to be dry. Attention seeking brands that are full of personality and have a clear mission shout from the shelves, whilst ensuring all labeling is completely transparent from ingredients to sourcing.
Owning ‘The Original’
Large brands must evolve quickly to compete with agile new entrants, many of which have robust health claims and unique brand stories that appear more authentic to their consumers. Some well known brands are re-establishing themselves as ‘The Original’ in order to retain consumers attention and utilise brand elements and stories from the past to convey this message.
As we continue to see the snacking market expand and categories blur, retail fixtures will become increasingly harder to navigate. To stay relevant, brands must understand their role in this increasingly crowded space, prioritise taste and portability and create unique and single minded communication that aligns to consumer needs and values, both on and off pack.
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