Pocket-sized bakery and snack products are more readily available than ever to cater to consumers’ on-the-go lifestyles and demand for portion-controlled foods.

At a time when our full collection of music and photos and all of our friends’ phone numbers can fit into our pockets, it’s natural that this “pocket-sized” trend is reflected in the foods we eat. Portion-controlled foods aren’t just about leading a healthier lifestyle; they’re also about personalized snacks in an on-the-go world.

“As eating habits shift from the traditional ‘three meals a day’ to snacking multiple times a day, there is a growing need for portable snacks,” states Erika Cottrell, vice president of marketing for Sahale Snacks. “Sahale Snacks was created to provide consumers with healthy and delicious snacks, and now we’ve made it easier with our all-natural Grab and Go size that slips easily into a gym bag, purse or glove compartment.”

The Seattle company’s Grab and Go line includes 1.5-oz. packages of its nut-based snack mixes. Options include Cashews with Pomegranate + Vanilla, California Almonds + Sea Salt, Almonds with Cranberries, Honey + Sea Salt, and Classic Fruit + Nut Blend, which is made with dried apples and cranberries and almonds, cashews and pistachios.

“With the launch of the Grab and Go size, snackers now have a more transportable option that’s perfectly portioned with the nutrients they need to stay fueled,” states Cottrell.

Portion-controlled products are also a good way to reach a new consumer base. “Many people see portion-controlled items as less of a commitment than full-sized items, so it increases the chance of first-time buyers, which will quickly turn into repeat buyers,” says Cottrell.

The adventure is on

Holy Cow, LLC, Irving, Texas, maker of Lord Nut Levington seasoned peanuts, is another company that has benefited from offering portion-controlled products to prospective customers. “I think people are more adventurous when they buy in single-serve sizes,” states Sanjiv Patel, president and founder. “Given that our product and branding are a little edgy, this is a perfect place to pitch the first trial.”

The company is now offering 1-oz. bags of its Rebel Mary and El Cheddarales peanuts. Rebel Mary boasts a spicy, Bloody Mary-inspired flavor, while El Cheddarales is cheddar-cheese-and-jalapeno-flavored. Once consumers taste these portion-controlled, “gateway” peanuts from Lord Nut Levington, they may be inspired to consume the company’s full-sized options, which include the previously-mentioned varieties along with Thai Dyed, Cinnapplooza, Sweet Miss Keet and Mamma Mia, a tomato, garlic and cheese-flavored option.

What really drives the company’s foray into portion control is convenience. “In this segment, people aren’t looking for leftovers,” states Patel. “They just want a complete snack—beginning to end.”

Another snack food popping into the portion-controlled market is popcorn. POP! Gourmet Popcorn introduced its single-serve bags that contain 70-150 calories per bag.

“The desire to serve the health-oriented consumer and to develop a low-calorie snack for the broader market [prompted us to create a portion-controlled product],” states David Israel, CEO of the Seattle-based company. “We want to offer a line of products that appeal to all consumers.”

POP! Gourmet Popcorn’s portion-controlled offerings include Rogue Blue, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Butter Toffee with Almond Roca, POPlite White Truffle Bliss, POPlite Sunflower Oil and Sea Salt, and Cascade Mix, a blend of Northwest white cheddar popcorn and caramel corn.

Healthy snacking is important to the segment of consumers looking for portion-controlled products. Flamous Brands Inc., Duarte, Calif., recently introduced its Spicy Falafel Chips, already considered a healthful alternative to regular potato chips, in 1.6-oz. single-serve packaging.

“I’ve heard so many customers compliment us on how great our chips taste, and that they’ve polished off the entire family-size bag, or that they have had to hide the bag from themselves or family members,” states Michael Prior, marketing manager. “Offering this single-serve packaging will help consumers control their intake and provide a snack that is convenient to take with them wherever they go.”

Flamous Brands also plans to offer its Sprouted Multigrain Zatar Chips in 1.2-oz. portion-controlled packaging later in the year.

Another company creating healthful, savory snacks in the portion-controlled arena is Snikiddy, Boulder, Colo. “Portion-controlled snacks have been a popular trend for the last couple years as consumers want easy, grab-and-go snacks that facilitate every busy lifestyle,” states Mary Schulman, founder and vice president of marketing.

In April, Snikiddy introduced new 1.5 oz. bags of its All-Natural Baked Fries in Cheddar Cheese, Sea Salt and Hot and Spicy and its Eat Your Vegetables product in Sea Salt and Sour Cream and Onion.

Not only is the company facilitating the busy lifestyle of adults, it’s also catering to kids. “As a family brand, we’re devoted to making wholesome, better-for-you snacks easy and delicious,” says Schulman. “We wanted parents and kids to have easy access to healthy, delicious snacks that would be perfect for road trips, lunch boxes and mid-afternoon snacks.”

Catering to kids’ picky palates can be tough, but Decas Cranberry, Carver, Mass., is giving it a go, with its portion-controlled packages of Funny Face Dried Cranberries.

“The Funny Face brand is dedicated to the idea the healthy eating can—and should—be fun,” states Matt Devine, corporate marketing officer. “Our single-serve packages are currently sold in six-bag multi-packs to make them an easy addition to any school lunch.”

The dried cranberries come in four options, Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry, Choo Choo Cherry, Goofy Grape and Freckle Face Strawberry. The packaging also boasts cartoon characters reminiscent of the Funny Face drink mix brand available years ago, to make the product more appealing to kids.

A little something

Adults may also be interested in a little something sweet after lunch or dinner, which is why Weight Watchers, Jackson, Mich., recently introduced its Brownie Bliss products. These individually-wrapped brownies are available in Triple Chocolate and Peanut Butter and only 80 to 90 calories each.

However, sweets are for sharing, which is why Sara Lee Desserts, Chicago, offers Sara Lee Perfectly Portioned for 2 Fruit Pies in Apple and Cherry Pie options.

“The need for smaller portions for individual snacking and enjoyment as well as more convenient or time-saving options has been the trend for the past couple years,” states Arnicia Harris, senior brand manager. “Sara Lee Perfectly Portioned for 2 Fruit Pies are pre-baked, 10-oz. pies that offer a smaller and quicker serving option, while keeping the same great oven-fresh, homemade taste families love from other Sara Lee pies.”

The pies are microwaveable and ready to be eaten in just two minutes. “Consumers want to indulge with something sweet, but don’t always need a full cake or pie,” states Harris.

Not only does the company offer pies, it also offers single-serve slices of its Sara Lee Pound Cake. The slices are individually wrapped to ensure that the product is fresh when the craving for cake hits.

With more and more companies exploring single-serve packaging as an option for their offerings, it’s easier than ever for consumers to eat on-the-go with properly portioned products.