Dimitrios Dimakakos, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International, said smaller packs really matched consumer needs, particularly in Europe.
“Small, single-serve flexible pack sizes are more affordable to buy and that is a tremendous advantage, considering that consumer spending in most of the Western European markets has declined in the last three years,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
The demand for smaller packaging, he said, would continue in the following years, particularly as Europe continued to struggle economically and consumer remained focused on waste reduction.
“In addition, small-sized varieties of popular products which are less than the 100 g standard allow consumers to enjoy moments of solo consumption,” Dimakakos said.
For example, he said consumers preferred light-weight snacks that could be carried to work and eaten on breaks. This desire for portability, he said, was a key driver in snacks and other impulse food categories.
He said manufacturers looking to tap into this should develop well-thought packages that helped consumers use the products not only outside the home, but inside too. “Therefore, closures that make the consumer’s life easier as you can carry the product in your bag even if it has been used before. For instance, within the European food arena, the stand-up pouch is forecast the fastest growth within flexible packaging. The pouch is set to grow further in many categories as a functional pack solution, being perceived as safer than glass and more portable than thin wall plastic containers.”
Flexible, plastic or carton?
While flexible packaging had gained traction in the bakery and snack sector, Dimakakos said cartons and plastic also showed strength.
“Flexible plastic is being challenged by folding cartons which convey higher quality and also by thin wall plastic containers which aim to offer products that are easy to share among other consumers, especially of young age,” he said.
Asked which material held the most promise for smaller packaging in the future, he said it differed according to category. For bakery and snacking products, for example, flexible packaging would remain key and the trend would continue towards on-the-go consumption.
For biscuits, however, folding cartons would remain common for primary packaging. “Pouches will continue to be used in bigger sizes – pouches will aim to offer consumers a pack format that is easy to share. We will also see other pack formats aiming to add value such as ‘microwavable’ using thin-wall plastic containers for breakfast cereals.”