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Amcor e-book on snacking, finishing technologies help products stand out

By Alyssa Mitchell


Image courtesy of Amcor

DESTINATION: SNACKIFICATION — Amcor recently launched an e-book — Destination: SNACKification — to explore what dairy brands need to know about the changing snacking landscape. The e-book touches on strategies to drive growth in the crowded cheese space; implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on cheese snacking; and how dairy brands can accelerate sustainability.
 Image courtesy of Amcor
SWEET SPOTS — It’s important to understand that one snack doesn’t fill the needs of all consumers, Amcor says. The company suggests designing packages that expand snacking options for more parts of the day, differentiate sizes and formats, and speak to consumers on the package, highlighting nutrition, taste and quality. Amcor also suggests that brand owners seek to excite consumers with regional influences as well as bold and unique flavors.

OSHKOSH, Wis. — The ever-growing
snacking trend among consumers is evolving into new territory, driven by changes in demographics, lifestyles and new occasions. Cheese is ideally positioned to meet the demands of consumers seeking a nutritious yet delicious snacking option, and brand owners are well positioned to offer new, innovative and convenient options for cheese snacking on the go or for shared occasions.

Amcor — a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging solutions for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, medical, home and other products with U.S. headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin — notes that no product category is better positioned than cheese to fulfill consumers’ appetite for snack satisfaction.

According to Travis Klug, dairy marketing manager for Amcor, while 82% of consumers use cheese in meals, just 67% use it as a snack today, meaning there is room for this segment to continue to grow. Klug adds that 95% of U.S. households are consuming some type of cheese, which means there is a strong consumer base to connect with that is already accepting of these product and packaging formats. Additionally, with at least 75% of snackers looking for healthy snack options, cheese can be positioned as a “better-for-you” choice based on its natural and low-carb attributes, according to data from Mintel Solutions, a leading market intelligence agency that Amcor partners with for consumer and industry insights.

“Amcor believes that dairy brands should recognize the changing snack landscape to drive growth in the crowded cheese space, and evolving packaging to address consumer needs and current product and package frustrations is key,” Klug says.

First, consumers want snacking products that will save them time and effort, he notes.

“After all, they are seeking out pre-made snacks because they don’t have the time or want to go through the effort of preparing something from scratch,” he says. “This is about speed and immediate gratification.”

Klug notes consumers also are looking for portability and convenience — functions that allow them to consume food on the go or in a comfortable fashion, away from the kitchen, like easy open and reclose features that make it simple for them to get the product out of the package.

“Even as COVID has resulted in people spending more time at home, they are still looking for convenient snacks that they can grab quickly from the kitchen between Zoom or Teams calls, either for work or virtual school,” he says.

Snacks also have to be ready to eat — meaning no additional steps are needed to prepare or consume the food — and they must be the right portion size for the occasion, whether that’s just someone snacking on their own, or maybe with a group of friends, even if that time together does look a bit different in a COVID world, he adds.

Consumers also want to see and understand the type of snack to make sure it fits their needs,” Klug says. “Package transparency allows them to have visibility to the product inside. Appropriate graphics and textural cues on the package can be used to indicate freshness, naturalness and wholesomeness, or maybe some more indulgent cues for special treat occasions.

“We can see from all of this that there are many roles that packaging can play to fulfill all these consumer demands for snacking and help a consumer make up their mind at the point of purchase,” he adds.

With this in mind, Amcor recently launched an e-book — Destination: SNACKification — to explore what dairy brands need to know about the changing snacking landscape. The e-book touches on strategies to drive growth in the crowded cheese space; implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on cheese snacking; and how dairy brands can accelerate sustainability.

“Destination: SNACKification is all about exploring the route to success with today’s cheese snackers,” Klug says. “While the cheese snack category is growing, it’s also crowded, fast-changing and competitive.”

He notes Mintel research shows a wave of individually wrapped and bite-size cheese products are hitting the shelves, and every brand wants a bite of the action. Private label and name brands alike are jumping on the opportunity, and standing out in the crowd will remain a challenge.

He adds recent studies charting changes in consumer behavior and snacking preferences point to three important strategies:

• Map consumer targets: It’s important to understand that one snack doesn’t fill the needs of all consumers. Amcor’s snack strategies here are to design packages that expand snacking options for more parts of the day, differentiate sizes and formats, and speak to consumers on the package, highlighting nutrition, taste and quality.

• Create snack adventures and experiences: Snacking is about crave-worthy experiences. Dairy brands have an opportunity to serve up flavor innovation and premium selections. Amcor’s snack strategy here is to excite consumers with differentiated quality, premium ingredients, regional influences, or bold and unique flavors.

“Snacking has evolved to include shared occasions where consumers seek to impress their guests with exciting cheese options. Brand owners have an opportunity to expand their existing snack platforms to include premium shared formats like charcuterie or cheese boards that make entertaining easy,” Klug says.

• Drive with health and well-being: Positioning cheese as a “better-for-you” choice is critical for the growing number of health-conscious snackers seeking products that are natural, organic and free from additives, Klug says. Amcor’s snack strategy here is to help consumers feel good about choosing cheese. Important attributes to spotlight could include low carb, low sugar, natural source of protein and calcium, and satisfying.

Interested parties can download Amcor’s eBook on Destination: SNACKification at www.amcor.com/insights/educational-resources/cheese-snackers.

Klug notes that in a crowded dairy space, getting a brand to stand out on the shelf can help encourage consumers to pick up a package and put it in their shopping carts.

“Evolving and innovating packaging really is a great route to win in the complex cheese marketplace,” he says.

At Amcor’s Innovation Center in Neenah, Wisconsin, the company offers its customers a unique service called Catalyst, Klug says. Catalyst is a program that is designed to save time, reduce risk, and improve outcomes on the journey from concept to reality through collaborative, thoughtful innovation.

“We bring all the key stakeholders to the table to translate market trends and consumer needs into executable packaging solutions that will delight consumers, increase speed to market and unlock growth,” he says. “We have teams of dedicated experts focused on expanding our offerings of AmPlify print finishes, available to support our customers in exploring all the latest technologies and innovations designed to help brands perform better, stand out on shelves and create an elevated consumer experience, all while delivering consistent operational performance.

“All of these benefits will ensure that our customers’ products’ first impression is a great one,” he says.

AmPlify finishing technologies also can achieve real differentiation at the point of sale.

“If a customer is looking for a more ‘natural’ look and feel with their packaging, Amcor offers a matte finish that can help create a meaningful connection between the brand promise and packaging,” Klug says. “We can also combine matte and gloss together, highlighting graphics that a customer wants to pop and decreasing reflection, which can make the package appear very premium.”

He notes Amcor’s antiglare print maintains high speed and machinability on customers’ lines while also delivering clarity and improved contrast to a brand’s design, elevating the brand on the shelf with a glare-free and reduced reflection package design.

“Amcor’s tactile range of finishes generate consumer engagement with an element that embodies natural flavors and quality. Our premium, tactile experience demonstrates the natural quality of our customers’ products in a package that consumers can see and feel,” he says.

Looking ahead, Klug says Amcor believes that packaging will continue to play a big role for consumer products even in a more sustainable world.

“Specifically, food items including cheese need to be preserved for freshness and safety,” he says. “Also, packaging is hygienic and can protect consumers, which is really important in the era of COVID as people look to stay safe and healthy. And of course, the package itself helps to promote a brand’s messaging to the consumer whether online, on the shelf or even in a person’s refrigerator.”

Klug notes consumers are continuing to ask their packaging to do even more. They still want something convenient and easy to use, and they also want it to be sustainable with waste reduction and end-of-life solutions.

“To reduce waste, responsible packaging is key. That includes the design of the packaging, an infrastructure for waste management and consumers that join in on the efforts,” he says.

“Amcor is certainly joining in on the efforts as well,” he adds.

For example, Amcor offers

AmPrima, a recycle-ready cheese packaging solution that gives consumers a better end-of-life packaging choice without asking customers and consumers to accept any compromise on product quality or benefits, Klug says.

“We are also partnering with industry organizations to ensure infrastructure and technology is being developed to collect, sort and recycle consumer packaging,” he adds. “Amcor also recognizes that consumer engagement is important to ensure packaging is reused or recycled, so we are connecting with various organizations to help further that discussion.”

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