Confectionery Trends

SIX EXCITING TRENDS IN CONFECTIONERY AND SNACK PACKAGING FOR 2017

Liz Reese, Sr. Creative Director
June 10, 2016
Staying on top of, or even ahead of, packaging trends can be what makes or breaks the success of your next product launch. There’s no guarantee for what the future may hold, but after visiting the Sweets & Snacks Expo this past month in Chicago, we received a glimpse at what’s to come. Here are our top six trends in confectionery and snack packaging to keep an eye out for in the near future.

1. Shareable Pack Types

It’s no surprise. Recent reports suggest that people are often replacing one or more of their daily meals with snacks, a result of demanding lifestyles. The growing demand for portion control has given rise to the popularity of shareable packages and is driving significant growth in the confections category.

Brand owners encourage consumers to share their product with others; it creates meaningful memory structures and spreads brand visibility. Shareable pack types often include flexible stand-up pouches with re-sealable features, so consumers can maintain product freshness. The pouch is also a popular format for mini and bite size confectionery— the easiest product type to share with family members and while out with friends.

Sharable pack types

2. Healthier Options for Sustainble Growth

Consumers today crave healthier treats. What’s driving this? People are more aware of what they are consuming. This awareness, coupled with new FDA regulations for labeling, (due later this year) bodes well for heritage brands that are offering better-for-you alternatives. Brands are repositioning themselves to offer healthy options in a category once saturated with sugar, artificial ingredients and colorings. Gum, mints and hard candy are going through a positioning re-fresh, driving oral healthcare. And other candy brands like Mars “Goodness Knows” feature treats with nutritional benefits and fruit inclusions. We are also starting to see 100-calorie packs emerge in confections and chocolate for consumers who still want to indulge a sweet craving, but remain calorie conscious.

Sugar is undoubtedly a hot topic, as diabetes and obesity continue to raise concern for both adults and children. We are starting to see a shift among big brands toward reducing sugar and providing lower calorie options, 100-calorie packs being the preferred snack size.

Consumer demand for healthy products is gaining major traction as brands respond with claims that include: Gluten Free, ALL NATURAL, Non GMO, No High Fructose Corn Syrup, No Artificial Colors or Preservatives, No Gelatin, Fat Free and Organic. The question remains, who’s doing it well and what will consumers need going forward?

Meaningful moments

3. Meaningful Moments to Celebrate with Consumers All year long

On your next visit to the grocery store, note the presence of moments-based packaging outside the four traditional holidays: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Holiday. Brands now celebrate smaller occasions such as the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Fathers and Mother’s Day and Superbowl to name a few. Some brands are even creating special mixes for individual family moments such as birthday parties and movie nights. Think about it; the greetings card industry supports 15+ separate occasions throughout the year. Brands are learning from this example and want their share of the opportunity.

To secure their place on shelf, brands need to create unique products that excite both the retailer and the consumer. Innovation must extend beyond the product but to the packaging as well. We see a trend for ‘sweets and sour’, especially gummies and Halloween novelties like eyeballs and gooey body parts. Even private label is giving brands a run for their money with portfolios of seasonal specialties.

Packaging has a huge role to play in the seasonal space, whether it’s for personalized gifts with premium substrates and varnishes for holidays, a special confectionery bag for Halloween giving or a treat for pets on Valentine’s Day. Brands are having fun with this. Two great examples are Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish and Mars M&M’s. They’re playing with characters and they’re driving loyalty and growth as a result. Opportunities are limitless; it’s all about aligning consumer desire with the right products and the right packaging.

“To secure their place on shelf, brands need to create unique products that excite both the retailer and the consumer. Innovation must extend beyond the product but to the packaging as well.”
Partnerships

4. Exciting Partnerships That Encourage Consumer Engagements

Another way for brands to compete outside of the traditional holidays is by creating proprietary licensing agreements for movie launches. This trend hasn’t been around for long, but it’s proven to be effective in driving consumer engagement. This year, Skittles partnered with Marvel for the Captain America: Civil War release. The brand created a promotion where consumers could win a movie ticket by entering 5 unique codes that could be found on participating Wrigley products. Other brands such as Tic Tac and Push Pops have also partnered with upcoming movie releases to create consumer engagement around the promotion.

Packaging has a huge role to play in the seasonal space, whether it’s for personalized gifts with premium substrates and varnishes for holidays, a special confectionery bag for Halloween giving or a treat for pets on Valentine’s Day. Brands are having fun with this. Two great examples are Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish and Mars M&M’s. They’re playing with characters and they’re driving loyalty and growth as a result. Opportunities are limitless; it’s all about aligning consumer desire with the right products and the right packaging.

Vending Innovations

5. Vending Optimization

Vending machines have been around for decades but haven’t received a lot of love until recently. Confectionary brands are recognizing that this unattended retail solution works well for movie theaters, malls and airports. Vending machines also offer convenience and variety of product selection. The Coke Freestyle machine is a great example. It has enjoyed industry attention in recent years because it answers retailer and consumer need.

Simple packaging conveys premium products

6. Simple Packaging Now Conveys Quality and Premium Product

This new package trend is all about matte finishes, basic colors and simple imagery. The artwork still feels sophisticated and premium, but doesn’t involve a complex printing process with an extensive color pallet and high-end varnishes. New brands featuring this packaging are seeing success in spaces such as Whole Foods, Mariano’s and other new age grocery stores.

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