Industry Offers Insights On Packaging Trends


Cleveland — Interest in natural and organic sourcing for ingredients is spilling over into packaging trends with consumers demonstrating a preference for both product visibility and eco-friendly packaging materials, according to Candy & Snack TODAY sources at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo.

The use of eco-friendly, low environmental impact, biodegradable materials is something Tamar Dolgen, vice-president public relations and digital marketing, YummyEarth, reported is growing in popularity and something the company plans to incorporate in its packaging going forward.

“People want natural ingredients in their candy, and now in the packaging as well,” Dolgen said. In other words, consumers are concerned with both what’s inside and outside of the product they are eating, she explained.

Edible packaging is another trend, holding particular appeal among younger consumers, sources report, including gummi-based packaging being used on cupcakes.cupcakes.

The ability to see product through packaging windows is also gaining in popularity, noted Valerie Wolford, vice-president of marketing, Hickory Harvest Foods. “Millennials want to see product,” according to Wolford. In these instances, she maintained, design is not as much about graphics, with the “visual grab” coming from the colors of the actual product.

She also is tapping trend to adopt a conversational and personal tone in copy used on packaging. With its Portage Trail Mix, a classic blend of dried fruits and nuts, Harvest tells the company story on the back of the package, touting: “long ago, Native Americans trampled a path from the Cuyahoga River through the wilderness to the Tuscarawas River . . . Today, we manufacture snacks near this former trail.”

Valerie Wolford, marketing vice-president for Hickory Harvest Foods, shows packaging that enhances product transparency.
Valerie Wolford, marketing vice-president for Hickory Harvest Foods, shows packaging that enhances product transparency.

In fact, many companies are incorporating narratives that take a poetic turn. For instance, standup bags of Tropical Fields Crispy Coconut Rolls from C.A.L Marketing Pty Ltd. read, in part: “In a land, in a home, in a field far away, A tropical treat is harvested to eat . . .” The poem is credited to the company founder’s daughter, Anthea Dransfield.

According to David Lennon, C.A.L CEO, the packaging also includes eye-level, placement of a clean ingredient list for greater emphasis, tapping into consumer interest in transparency. An opened coconut is prominently featured, to draw attention to the ingredient, which grows right outside the company’s manufacturing facilities in Thailand.

Following this theme of large photos of ingredients on fronts of packs, Open Roads Snacks owner Karen Bradley strove to identify that the company’s Sinfully Thin popcorn brand is a clean product by featuring images of large kernels on the fronts of packs.

“We’re looking for points of differentiation, so we show raw and popped kernels and have nut-, gluten-free and vegan callouts, and only 40 calories per cup,” Bradley said. With a bright white background and bold images, the goal is “to have the product pop on the shelf.”

She also saw an opportunity “to speak directly to ethnic audiences” with the company’s Diego Chips, with packs illustrated with ingredients that capture the essence of the Hispanic-influenced flavors: habanero, fuego and red chile. She said pack’s graphics offer a direct route to delivering the brand message.

Overall, packaging is taking a turn toward bold ingredient images, and whether delivered through front-of-pack windows or on-pack photography, it is inspired by consumer interest in real ingredients.