Smaller size trend accelerates volume growth for flexible packaging

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Migros Blévita Biscuits Müesli Mini sweet biscuits. Picture: Blévita.
Migros Blévita Biscuits Müesli Mini sweet biscuits. Picture: Blévita.

Related tags Snack food Packaging Candy bar Euromonitor international

Portion control through smaller pack sizes is increasingly apparent across confectionery and snacks, according to Euromonitor International.

It claims in chocolate confectionery, the strongest global growth to 2020 in consumer purchases of tablets, will be the 0-50g size band and this smaller size trend is accelerating volume growth for flexible packaging.

Nestlé KitKat


This is the case for countlines as well. For example Nestlé launched KitKat in a 17g flexible plastic pack in Vietnam last year.

Its report ‘Packaging in 2017: Key Insights and System Refresher’ April 2017, found total demand for retail packaging amounted to 3.4 trillion packs in 2016.

Food is the primary industry end-use, and is growing with demand for packaged and smaller sizes – the latter comes from a number of drivers, with affordability, health and premium product development being the key three, cross-industry.

Report author Rosemarie Downey, head of packaging, Euromonitor International said in biscuits, single-serve options give consumers a biscuit alternative to the classic chocolate bar for impulse purchases.

In 2016, Mondelez Malaysia launched Mini Oreo sweet biscuits in a 38g pack, whilst Swiss retailer Migros introduced Blévita Biscuits Müesli Mini sweet biscuits in 38g flexible plastic​,” she said.

The move towards smaller sizes extends to ice cream, where the miniaturization trend continues. In impulse ice cream, whilst 80ml is the most common pack size, globally the 0-50ml size band is forecast the most dynamic growth, of a 7% CAGR over 2016-2020​.”

Asia Pacific saw 42% of global packaging demand in 2016, and is set to account for 63% of 2016-2020 onward growth.

The report found food packaging is influenced by on-the-go lifestyles, which leads to snacking throughout the day; added-value snack pack sales are on the rise and recloseability convenience for grazers is gaining traction.

Toffees, caramels, nougat

Karine Dussimon, senior analyst packaging, Euromonitor International, added 2015 was characterized by the strengthening of the snacking trend.

This led to biscuits, snack bars, confectionery and baked goods overall providing the biggest incremental growth for packaging in foods​,” she said.

Flexible plastic, as a widely used snack pack for products such as toffees, caramels, nougat and sweet biscuits, will benefit the most to 2020​.

Albeit from a lower volume base, thin wall plastic containers, as used in sweet and savory snacks, and plastic pouches, as increasingly found in bagged selflines/softlines and pastilles, gums, jellies and chews, will also both gain from this trend​.

The growing appeal of snacking in 2015 was closely matched with rising health concerns over calorie intake through packaged food. This was particularly evident in North America and Western Europe against the backdrop of a 'war on sugar'​.”

She said across traditional snacking categories such as biscuits and snack bars, confectionery and baked goods, brand owners largely chose to add value by upping the convenience factor when eating on the go.

For example, Hershey releasing its Chocotubs​ in thin wall plastic containers in Brazil for shared consumption.


Another major common denominator across these categories was the reduction in pack size as a way to encourage better portion control. For example, Mondelez launching Korona tablets in 35g flexible plastic in Ukraine.

The health and wellness trend also encouraged the use of packaging innovation by brand owners in flavored milk drinks, cheese, processed meat, and fruit and vegetables in developing a snacking product that is perceived as healthier than chocolate countlines or crisps​,” added Dussimon.

For example, Petit Filous fromage frais - traditionally in multipacked thin wall plastic containers - was relaunched in the UK in a plastic pouch with plastic screw closure. Breakfast cereal brand Weetabix also reinvented itself as a breakfast drink (flavored milk drinks) in a 275ml HDPE bottle. 

According to Downey, ‘​Rightsizing’ is a packaging strategy being used by brands, with diversification rather than standardization. This is translated into a shift towards smaller sizes and a wider range of pack sizes, enabling brands to be more customized in addressing consumers’ healthier consumption requirements across food and soft drinks.

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