Brand owners who understand and respond to the needs and preferences of consumers position themselves as leaders in the marketplace. Currently—and with no signs of stopping—shoppers support brands that prioritize health-and-wellness and take action to minimize their environmental impact. According to the latest “Global Packaging Trends Report” from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, those are key trends driving innovation and development in primary packaging.

As opportunities and competition continue to grow for snack manufacturers, it is important that brands meet consumer demand for on-the-go snack products that help them live healthier and more-sustainable lifestyles. Innovative, sustainable and convenient packaging that highlights the snack’s health advantages can make all the difference between positioning it as a category leader versus a “me too” offering.


Now more than ever, consumers carefully consider their snack options based on nutritional benefits, ingredients, calories and portion size. As a result, packaging serves as an important platform for brands to emphasize their commitment to the health-and-wellness of shoppers. According to PMMI’s “Global Packaging Trends Report,” products effectively positioned toward health-conscious consumers in North America saw a large increase in sales volume.

Gluten-free is often connected to health-and-wellness these days. The “Gluten-Free Foods in the U.S.” report, released in Jan. 2015 by Packaged Facts, for example, revealed that sales of gluten-free products reached $973 million in 2014. By 2019, the report cites a 140 percent increase to $2.34 billion. Brands that emphasize benefits such as “gluten-free” on their packaging and labels inform shoppers of the attributes they may be looking for in products.

Furthermore, the line between snacks and meals is growing thinner and thinner with time. Rather than a traditional meal, consumers are increasingly going for easier, on-the-go options like granola bars, trail mixes or even just fruit and vegetable snacks. Demand for both nutrition and convenience has significantly supported the trend toward snacking.

Better for the planet

Today’s consumers don’t just look to benefit themselves. According to a global survey conducted by Nielsen in 2015—part of its 2015 “Global Corporate Sustainability Report”—65 percent of global consumers consider sustainability factors when purchasing a product.

Brands that deliver products that are better for the planet have an advantage in attracting consumers. The success of Target’s “Made to Matter” collection of brands is a great example for other retailers and manufacturers. The collection of 120-plus products from 31 sustainability-driven foods, as well as personal-care brands, had a whopping $1 billion in sales projections for 2015, reported the retailer in Feb. 2015. This shows how snack manufacturers with brand practices that reflect eco-consciousness are better positioned to gain the loyalty of consumers that continue to grow more concerned about matters of the environment.

Better for your brand at PACK EXPO

Innovation in packaging convenience and sustainability is easier said than done. To help snack manufacturers find the tools and solutions they need to strengthen the position of their brands, PACK EXPO International 2016, taking place at McCormick Place in Chicago from Nov. 6–9, will feature more than 2,300 exhibitors throughout 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space and attract 50,000 attendees from all over the world. Additionally, brand owners will have the opportunity to gain inspiration from other food and non-food industries represented at the show, broadening the spectrum of possibilities to enhance their operations.

Three different Innovation Stage locations will also serve as destinations for education as exhibitors present 30-minute seminars on breakthrough ideas and technologies throughout the day. Furthermore, attendees can learn how to maximize profits and sustainability at features like the Reusables Learning Center, where case studies and best practices for integrating reusables into the supply chain are presented.

To learn more about PACK EXPO International 2016, visit