Snack Packaging Trends: Striking A Balance Between Durability And Style

Flexible packaging and stand-up pouches are taking center stage in the flourishing snack food market.

By Swapna Gawale, Project Manager at Towards Packaging

The snack packaging industry is flourishing, and demand is growing for inventive and effective snack packaging solutions that satisfy consumer demands for freshness, sustainability and on-the-go snacking. In fact, the global snacks packaging market is estimated to grow from $19.36 billion in 2024 to reach an estimated $28.07 billion by 2032, with an estimated 4.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2023 and 2032.

Consumer packaging preferences

Consumer product usage and preferences are greatly influenced by the type of packaging material brands use, and the key is to strike a balance between toughness, style and sustainability.

Snackers also enjoy snack bags and pouches that can hold many servings and have resealing technology, keeping  food fresh for future snacking occasions. Essential features in this category include zippers, hook-and-loop fasteners, and resealable stickers.

Snack packaging is dominated by plastic

Flexible and rigid packaging are currently the two main types of snack food packaging. Typical types of rigid snack packaging include hard plastics, corrugated or paperboard boxes, in addition to metal and glass containers.

Snack packaging is currently dominated by plastic. In fact, a startling 40% of plastics made worldwide are used to package food and beverages. These percentages also include plastic films, which make up about 2% of weight and 6% of turnover, that converters utilize for lamination and to produce flexible packaging.

Plastic provides strong protection on shelves, in distribution and during transit. And because plastic packaging is durable and lightweight, it is easy to handle, ship, store and refill without breaking. Flexible packaging is lighter than rigid plastic packaging because it is typically composed of bags or pouches sealed with heat or pressure, and comprised of materials like plastic, film, foil, or paper.

Flexible packaging also has many functions, and a significant presence on the store shelf. For example, pouch packaging maximizes shelf space by holding more products than rigid packaging because of its slender shape. Because pouches are easy to discard and take up less room when travelling or at home, consumers also appreciate these features.

Advancements in Snack Packaging

Plastic packaging takes center stage in the snacks packaging industry, and innovative brands are striking a balance between durability, package design and sustainability:

In January 2022, PepsiCo introduced eco-friendly packaging for all their products in Europe and by 2030, all snack films will be made entirely of recycled or sustainable plastic.

In December 2023, Mars China unveiled a Snickers bar with flexible mono-material packaging. Kellanova cut back on plastic usage in their packaging for Cheez-It®, Cheez-It®, Snap’d®, Club®, and Puff’d® Crisps without sacrificing the quantity of food in each package.

In May 2023, Bryce Corp., a flexible packaging maker, and Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., introduced a novel recyclable stand-up-pouch and retail drop-off sites.

In August 2023, Ferrero Rocher Moments redesigned its packaging in India, introducing pouches in shelf-ready dispensers and factory-packed hangsells.


Demand is growing for resealable pouches

Stand-up pouches are pliable foil or plastic packages intended to carry food or drinks, and are an increasingly popular format for snack food due to the growing need for customized pouches that accommodate a variety of different products. Resealable pouches made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are also replacing materials like cardboard, metal, and glass because of their durability, portability and versatility.

Pouches also have a smaller carbon footprint than many other packaging formats, and are an eco-friendly substitute for rigid containers, which use more material and can generate substantial waste throughout the product lifecycle. Because of this feature, pouches are often considered a good solution for consumers who are concerned about sustainability.

Packaging design distinguishes brands

Packaging design gives companies a big chance to set themselves apart from the competition, and prominent companies such as Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Mars have pledged to meet sustainability targets by 2025. More brands are promising to use only reusable, compostable or recyclable packaging, and many are pledging to design packaging containing at least 26%  post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. They also want to cut the amount of virgin plastic used in packaging by 20%. These programs are a part of an expanding industry-wide endeavour to reduce environmental damage and encourage ethical packaging.

Snack packaging market dynamics

The global snack packaging market demonstrated positive volume and value growth in 2023, with predictions of continuous expansion over the projected term. The Asia Pacific region has experienced substantial growth despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic, inflation and changes in the world economy.  India, a prominent participant in the savory snack market that includes meat snacks, potato chips, nuts, and seeds, is positioned for significant growth. According to projections, India’s demand for savory snacks will grow to around $13 billion by 2026.

Global snack market insights highlight the need for inventive and effective snack packaging solutions that satisfy customer demands for freshness, portability, and consumption while on the go. The snack packaging  market sector is dynamic, and it’s important to continually meet the varied needs of regional markets, remain aware changing market trends, and know consumer packaging preferences and snacking habits.

About the Author:

Swapna Gawale is the Project Manager at Towards Packaging. Swapna is a seasoned research consultant with expertise in conducting and analyzing complex research projects across various industries. With a deep passion for knowledge discovery and a commitment to delivering actionable insights, Swapna has successfully collaborated with numerous organizations to help them make informed decisions and drive strategic growth. Learn more at:

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