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Convenient, Customizable Packaging Promotes “Snackification” Trend

As more consumers supplement or replace full meals with snacks, the food industry is looking to enhance the experience of selecting, transporting and consuming fresh-to-go items from the deli/prepared food department of supermarkets and grocery stores.

One strategy is to create new packaging that checks important boxes for consumers:

  • Customizable – mix and match to accommodate different snacking needs
  • Convenient – allows reheating in the microwave
  • Visually appealing – showcases the food to its best advantage
  • Sustainable – can be recycled in municipal systems

The right packaging makes it easier and more enjoyable for shoppers to choose healthy, fresh snacks from the deli/prepared food section, rather than relying on highly processed snacks, like chips, crackers and granola bars, from the center of the store.

Evolution of Snacking

Snackification represents a fundamental shift in the way people eat. According to the Hartman Group, a thought leader on demand-side trends in the food industry, 90 percent of consumers snack multiple times throughout the day.1

In addition to more-frequent snacking, consumers’ preferences for snack foods are changing. Hartman finds people are increasingly concerned about healthier choices, better portion control and greater flexibility regarding when and how they snack.

New Packaging Concept

To enhance the fresh-to-go snacking experience, five companies recently collaborated on a clever new packaging concept called “Pick Your Plate.” These organizations – Milliken & Company, Tyson Foods, Rich Products Corporation, Display Pack, Inc., and a leading grocery retailer – created the concept in conjunction with the International Dairy, Deli, Bakery Association’s IDDBA 2017 event, where it is being showcased.

Pick Your Plate packaging features a rigid plastic tray with four wedge-shaped cavities in which shoppers can place individual 10-oz or 20-oz lidded tubs of pre-packaged hot or cold food. The tray makes it easy to transport multiple containers, and doubles as a plate. Alternatively, consumers can choose a single container without the tray.

The tubs and lids are thermoformed by Display Pack from Milliken’s NX™ UltraClear polypropylene, a unique, glass-clear plastic that can be microwaved or used for hot-fill items, as well as for cold foods. This material is attractive and is easily recycled.

Pick Your Plate supports consumer snacking preferences:

  • It allows them to choose small amounts of food, instead of being restricted to larger, meal-size portions typical of deli/prepared food departments
  • It’s flexible regarding portion size and number of items
  • It’s adaptable to many different snacking scenarios for individuals and families

According to Andy Blackmore, director of Sales & Marketing for Display Pack, this innovative packaging concept underscores the close relationship between fresh prepared foods and high-quality packaging.

After all, snacking is more than just eating. When you consider the emotional, social, and cultural aspects of snacking, it’s clear that a package with exceptional shelf appeal, ease of use and flexibility can play a big part in the overall experience.


1 As Snackification in Food Culture Becomes More Routine, Traditional Mealtimes Get Redefined. The Hartman Group. Feb. 16, 2016. http://www.hartman-group.com/hartbeat/638/as-snackification-in-food-culture-becomes-more-routine-traditional-mealtimes-get-redefined