For years, packaging innovations have taken a backseat to new product development and plant enhancements.

For years, packaging innovations have taken a backseat to new product development and plant enhancements. However, more and more bakers and snack producers are learning that consumers tend to judge a package by its “cover,” so to speak. That’s why they’re creating packaging concepts that “talk” to consumers; that convey a “please pick me up” message.

The new packaging for MATADOR beef jerky, for instance, incorporates a “reinvented communication and design strategy, built to better resonate with our millennial target consumer,” says Mark Catlin, director of marketing for the MATADOR brand.

Produced by Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, Minong, Wis., the MATADOR brand comes in eye-catching packaging that incorporates an on-pack quick response (QR) code, allowing consumers to access fresh, engaging and relevant content.

“MATADOR beef jerky was launched by Jack Link’s with the idea of offering a truly differentiated product (tender jerky) to a differentiated meat snack consumer (millennials),” Catlin says. “Our target consumer research and initial sales results confirm that the new package design clearly meets our objectives with a 3:1 preference over previous design, an 89% purchase intent score, an 85% uniqueness score and strong initial sales performance.”

Meanwhile, ConAgra Foods, Inc., Omaha, Neb., introduced two primary packaging differences for its Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn line.

“The popcorn bag now comes with a separate seasoning packet, which allows consumers to control the flavor intensity of their popcorn,” says Jesse Spungin, vice president and general manager. “Also, on the individually wrapped 3.24-oz. single bags, the creative design is featured on the bag’s cellophane wrapper rather than an exterior box.”

This packaging makeover came about because consumers voiced concern over wanting to control the flavor of their popcorn.

“The flavor packet in Orville Redenbacher’s flavors allows popcorn lovers to sprinkle on the preferred amount of seasoning to control the flavor intensity,” says Spungin.

In October, John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., Elgin, Ill., owner of the Fisher nuts brand, introduced the Fisher Freshness Seal bag, which features a stand-up design and press-to-seal closure that locks in freshness and preserves the flavor and crunch of the nuts after opening, says Howard Brandeisky, vice president, global marketing, innovation and customer solutions. The stand-up bag consists of a flat, expandable bottom and a wide open top, making it easier and more convenient to scoop out nuts.Whether it’s inviting colors and graphics, an easy-to-open container or words that spell out ingredients, health benefits and more, the food industry is taking note-and taking shape-with new packaging innovations.

For more on these and other new packaging concepts introduced within the snack and bakery market, look for our special report on packaging innovation in Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery’s January 2012 issue. /Users/chungr/Desktop/marinainblue.bmp/Users/chungr/Desktop/marinainblue.bmp