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The Evolution of Snack Packaging in APAC

Posted By: SGK February 14, 2020
snacking in APAC

This blog post has been contributed by Noorul Malik, Marketing and Communications Executive (APAC), SGK

Snacking—a familiar term that used to represent our unhealthy habits of junking in between or post meals, is now more than just a treat, it is part of our lifestyle. Urbanization, industrialization, and cultural expansion have re-framed snacking and how it’s embraced.

In Asia, rising living standards and premiumization are shaping the way people interact with their surroundings and food habits. Consumers look forward to innovative or customized food products to integrate with their chosen lifestyle option. This option pushes consumers to move away from three standard meals a day to readily accessible and snacks-on-the-go concept.

For millennials, their choice of snacking is strongly connected to social media marketing. It forms the perfect platform to explore and push new ideas by both consumers and brands. Majority of fusion ideas and revitalizing conventional flavors brought through social media livens the snacking industry with constant evolution of snacks.

Below, we outline five trends that are impacting snack packaging design in the APAC region: 

We are super social media savvy.

While social media helps create buzz around an old (and forgotten) diet, it also elevates the connectivity and experiences of new product launches. Considering Asia is the largest market for snacking, innovations are expected to increase!

The high level of interest from millennials in sharing their food choices on social media allows brands to understand what millennials are currently gravitating towards. We love when traditional meets new. The new inspirations can translate to product innovations to meet the gaps in the industry.

READ: How Social Media is Changing Packaging Design

For example, we generally do not prefer consuming fish skin due to its unpalatable taste and texture. However, when that same skin was deep fried with salted egg flavoring, it turned out to be a massive hit amongst the same generation that once did not see its value. Visual representation of combining heritage flavours to the modern crisp was an instant disruptor in the market and raved on social media.

We are in constant drive to simplify our lifestyle.

Consumers are more aware of their diet and continually trying out new mixes to ease their hectic daily schedule. We sacrifice meal planning and meal preparation for the time to commute to work or meeting deadlines. This opens up new avenues for the snacking industry to support time-constrained consumers with the snack-on the-go idea.

F&B companies answer the quick fix needs through smaller and pre-packed options. For example, hybrid yogurt dessert cups can be consumed for breakfast, taken in-between meals, or enjoyed as a dessert. Packaging the toppings in a separate pod attached to the yogurt cup offers a mess-free substitute for convenience-seeking consumers.

We are getting more health conscious.

The single-serve snacking trend synchronizes with global wellness trend, opening up the market for “better-for-you” snacks. As the Asian market shifts its focus on conscious snacking habit, the emerging snacking trend drives our focal point towards sustainability and ethical sourcing, production methods and healthy snacks.

Today, millennials and Gen-Zs are the primary snackers who incline towards better-for-you snacks to quell their intrusive hunger and stay energized throughout the day. Healthy snacking is driving away from categories such as biscuits and chips to nuts, seeds and trail mixes.

The nuts and dried fruits market has seen a growth rate of 58.3% over three years in China — ensuring APAC has the highest share in the global market. Similarly, 92% of Indonesian snackers rank vitamin-rich, low-sugar, and fresh as the top three preferences in their choice of snacks – re-defining Asia’s snacking attitude towards a more health-conscious habit.

We’re more socially responsible and demand that from others.

Mindful and responsible snacking emphasizes current CSR efforts—sustainability, ethical sourcing and production. The younger generation of snackers are more wary of attributes on how the ingredients were sourced and manufactured. These consumers feel responsible for their purchase and its impact on societal concerns such as the welfare of the employees, animal rights and global sustainability of the environment. This is clear evidence on the growing importance of “snacking with purpose” more than to passing a craving.

READ: How Sustainable Packaging is Disrupting CPG

We are (re)choosing to be vegan.

This global trend of responsible snacking fuels Asia’s vegetarian/vegan snacking culture. Plant-based alternatives feed an incredible variety to most Asian’s snacking habit. Being a vegetarian is typical in Asia due to religious reasons. The vegetarian/vegan snacking trend is not a new phenomenon but a revived terminology that’s being hyped by western culture and social media. 

In summary, snacking has evolved from a hunger pang solution to a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. But let’s not forget our millennial generation and Gen-Zs provide rich information on their changing food habits that keeps us on our toes. They differ and customize based on the geography and lifestyle they carry.

Brands need to continue paying attention to identify which new product development (NPD) suits their evolving Asian consumers. In practice, we encourage opting for convenience that promotes healthy eating and reduces waste with a lower environmental footprint.

About Noorul Malik: Noorul is the Marketing and Communications Executive, APAC. With 3+ years of experience in corporate and consumer marketing spanning across CPG, healthcare and blue-collar industries. Prior to SGK, Noorul has serviced clients such as Sanofi Pasteur, Amgen, Cardinal Health and ExxonMobil.