Four Key Trends Impacting The Snack Category

Consumers are unhappy about “greedflation” and are growing skeptical of companies reducing their products’ quality and quantity. © Gajendra – stock.adobe.com

Snackers Crave Relaxation, and Care More About Cost, Quality, Convenience and Sustainability

By Moira Stein, Insights & Strategy at Berlin Packaging

Amidst inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty, consumers are paying more attention to the cost, quality, and convenience of snack products. With stress levels high, they are also looking for enjoyable and relaxing snacking experiences. And sustainability continues to be a priority as consumers seek brands that do their part to protect the environment. Here are four key trends impacting the snacks category this year.

Value for money

Consumers are unhappy about “greedflation” and growing skeptical of companies reducing their products’ quality and quantity – like shrinking sizes or downgrading ingredients. These tactics can damage a brand’s reputation, so it is important to be strategic and transparent in how and why you’re cutting costs, including product and pack size reductions.

As prices rise, quality and convenience continue to be important indicators of good value, and snack brands must reassure consumers that they are maintaining quality along with affordability. People are willing to spend on premium indulgences, and products like chocolate, confections, and savory snacks can provide pleasurable moments of satisfaction. Messaging that promotes a product’s value – including using high-quality ingredients or creating enjoyable experiences – can help brands win with budget-conscious consumers.

Snacks to relax

Today’s health-conscious consumers are increasingly prioritizing their mental and emotional wellness. According to a Q4 2023 GlobalData survey, 71% of the global population say they are at least slightly concerned about their mental wellbeing. The research company notes, “Consumers have been facing great uncertainty due to events over recent years and seek

comfort through snacking as a way to reduce their stress levels.”

Beyond seeking healthy snacks that are better for them physically (like thosehigh in protein, low in calories or sugar, or free from artificial ingredients), people are looking for products that promote relaxation and provide a mental break. Snack brands should look for ways to position themselves beyond satiety and indulgence as a comforting or mood-boosting experience.

Snacktime connections

Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in our everyday lives, with today’s consumers always “on” and connected. People are spending more time online, and consumers are using their phones to make purchases, learn more about the brands they buy, and engage with products in new ways. Snack brands should look for ways to connect with consumers digitally.

This can include providing an omni-channel experience, including e-commerce and direct-to-consumer services. Smart packaging, like QR codes, is another tactic, allowing consumers to visit a brand’s website to browse products, read reviews, discover ingredient information, learn about a company’s social or environmental initiatives, and more. And gamification is on the rise, with snack brands entering the metaverse through partnerships with popular video games like Roblox and Minecraft.

Eco-friendly

Today’s consumers want to support brands that align with their values and lifestyle choices, driving demand for transparency and sustainability in both packaging and product formulation. According to GlobalData, annual sales of socially and environmentally responsible snacks have steadily grown over the past several years.

This trend includes environmental protection, waste reduction, energy-saving practices and animal-friendly supply chains. Demand for sustainable packaging is as high as ever, including containers made with recycled or recyclable materials, refill and reuse models, and solutions with reduced carbon footprint.

About the Author

Moira Stein has spent 20+ years working in brand marketing, with a focus on strategy and design. For the past four years, she has helped Berlin Packaging’s customers leverage consumer and category insights to develop strategic package design solutions that create impact and drive sales. Moira has experience across a variety of sectors, including food & beverage, personal care and home care. Her clients have included large CPG companies like SC Johnson, Kraft, and ConAgra Foods, as well as small distilleries, wineries, craft breweries, and start-ups.  Berlin Packaging’s dedicated team of sustainability experts creates innovative packaging solutions that optimize sustainability, brand impact, and performance to help brands grow. Learn more at https://www.berlinpackaging.com/

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