nA few years ago 100 calorie snack pack options were a popular and convenient way for consumers to both count calories and keep from over snacking. But lately, these “mini foods” options have become a scarce commodity on store shelves. The question is, why have smaller snack packaging options tapered off in recent years and what makes some experts think they are poised for a big comeback? The answers lie within the recent buying trends of consumers.
So how have consumer’s preferences changed over the last few years? Well, while consumer focus used to weigh more heavily on calorie count alone and fat content. While these factors are still important to consumers, they’re more interested in finding out that qualifies as healthy. Simply put, consumers believe that fat and calorie count alone are simply not enough to indicate the healthiness of the food product. Hence the drop off in sales of 100 calorie snack packs and similar products. But therein lies the opportunity, some experts believe.
Food manufacturers –including ones who’s legacy products are not generally viewed as a healthy option- are assessing what consumers want and are beginning to hit the market with appropriate sized packaging that reflects what consumers are looking for in their salty or sweet snack foods. The thought is that having less sodium or sugar per piece in their smaller sized packaging options will sway health conscious consumers back to mini foods. And this, as it turns out, can bring about profit via packaging innovation. Take, for example, how some soda companies have offered smaller sized cans of their products, at a higher price point per ounce. Innovative “thin” snacks, like those offered my Mondelez’s Oreo Thins and Wheat Thins Even Thinner Crackers, offer consumer’s legacy brands that hey enjoy, but in sizes that offer fewer grams of salt or sugar per piece. This helps consumers keep up with what they see as a healthier lifestyle, while manufacturers can enjoy a healthier bottom line.