4 snacking trends & their packaging implications interview with Gil Horsky

Lisa McTigue Pierce from Packaging Digest interviewed Gil Horsky about the future of snacking and packaging’s starring role


While the sit-down family dinner isn’t dead, it seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Today, consumers are more likely to snack throughout the day, even when socializing over the weekend.

What does this mean for packaging development and design Gil Horsky, global innovation head from chocolate, biscuit, candy and gum brands powerhouse Mondelēz Intl., pinpoints four snacking trends that packaging designers can leverage to create product/package combinations that win consumers over. He is presenting these at the Food Vision conference (Mar. 1-3; London, UK) on Thurs., Mar. 2.

1. Mission Nutrition: From the addition of functional ingredients to catering for health conditions and intolerances, snack companies must meet consumers’ wellness agenda.

2. Pure Pleasure: From chocolate inhalers to lollipop cakes, clever producers are turning “snacks” into “experiences” that enliven and enrich.

3. Social Snacks: Consumers don’t want to snack alone. Sharing and personalization can turn snacking into a social activity.

4. Instant Everywhere: Buy-on-the-go lifestyles demand new retail and vending formats that make snack buying instant, affordable and fun.

You say that consumers expect a lot from their snacks today. Why is that? And how can/should food companies leverage packaging to deliver on their high expectations?

Horsky: One of the most significant changes that occurred in how people consume food is the way that snacks are encroaching upon the traditional meal-times. Younger consumers are swapping the more traditional three daily meals with five or six substantial snacks per day. It is amazing to think that a few decades ago the packaged snacking category hardly existed, while today it is one of the fastest growing food segments, with the number of daily snacking occasions constantly growing. With this increased role snacks play in people’s lives, their expectations of these snacks are on the raise.

Packaging is the dark horse of the marketing world. Compared with other marketing levers, it doesn’t receive enough attention, and its impact is still underestimated by many food and snacking manufacturers. However, it has been shown by Nielsen that optimized packs generate an average 5.5% increase in sales revenue, and can drive trial, build brand equity and serve as a key medium for communicating an innovation’s “job to be done.”

One mind-shift still required by many manufacturers, is the realization that they must place packaging exploration and development at the forefront of their innovation process. Some manufacturers focus only on the edible product and leave the packaging to the end of the process, as an after-thought. That approach has been proven not to work—to exceed consumer expectations of new snack offerings, packaging requires the same attention by marketers and product developers as the actual edible product receives.

Your “Mission Nutrition” point centers on consumers’ wellness agenda. Packaging graphics and labeling play an important role. What should packaging designers be focusing on in this regard?

Horsky: Allergies, intolerances and the rapid increase in conditions such as obesity and diabetes are shifting the way people think about snacking. Being healthy is becoming increasingly aspirational as consumers become more conscious about the food choices they make.

This also means consumers are expecting food companies to be part of the solution, and not the problem.

Developing the right brand positioning and corresponding packaging design plays a key role in communicating effectively to consumers those health-benefits. I am a big believer that—with regards to pack design and health benefits—less is more. Therefore, it is critical to have a clean design with a single-minded benefit, making it clear on pack to the consumer what is the one “job” this product will help them solve for.

A great example is Belvita Breakfast Biscuits (see photo above), a product that is single minded in its positioning and pack design that communicates clearly the benefit it provides of “4 hours of nutritious steady energy” to continuously fuel the consumer‘s body through the morning.


To read the full article on Packaging Digest click here