There is no doubt that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on consumer behaviors and, as a result, the purchasing decisions made at both digital and physical stores. Some trends, like healthy snacks, will continue to dominate shelves. But at the same time, a new premium on safety and sustainability could push packaging strategies in new directions.
Here’s our take on the consumer trends transforming granola packaging (and how to navigate this shifting terrain).
Sustainability and safety matter
In 2019, we saw an undeniable shift toward sustainable packaging, driven in no small part by eco-minded consumers. Flash forward to 2020, and sustainable packaging has become a staple for companies eager to showcase their stewardship. Brands ranging from Procter & Gamble to Dior to Haagen-Dazs took this a step further, betting big on reusable packaging. For the granola segment, we see sustainability reflected in stand-up pouches, which reduce waste and can be produced from recycled materials.
The current market situation hasn’t reduced the appetite for sustainability. However, with much still unknown about the novel coronavirus, everything from reusable packaging to reusable bags has been given a closer look with a “safety first” lens. Health concerns are expected to dominate consumer trends in the coming months. Packaging of all types should reflect this by maximizing both sustainability and safety. In the case of reusable packaging, this could mean adopting enhanced cleaning protocols that are communicated transparently to consumers.
Even more emphasis on e-commerce
Social distancing has changed consumer purchasing habits, increasing curbside pickups and online grocery orders. But e-commerce comes with specialized packaging requirements and a unique supply chain—both of which can cause challenges if you don’t have a packaging solutions expert on your side.
When compared with rigid packaging, flexible pouches offer a number of e-commerce benefits. By nature, flexible packaging is easier to fit within shipping containers. Flexible pouches can often experience more impact without breaking or cracking. However, it’s important to work with a packaging engineer who can ensure that your pouch is designed for the journey from the warehouse to your customer’s door. A strong seal also matters, especially for granola products that can lose their crunch with even the smallest hint of moisture.
With consumer expectations reaching new heights, and limitations to in-person shopping projected to last for months, a seamless experience has become more important than ever. Granola and snack food brands can optimize their supply chain costs, and ensure on-time delivery, with Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and/or Just in Time (JIT) inventory programs. These programs have the added bonus of freeing up cash flow and warehouse space—clear advantages during any market situation.
With health and safety top of mind for many consumers, we’ve already seen an increased demand for wellness products and healthy snack foods. For granola brands, this is a golden opportunity to put your snack’s healthy attributes front and center. Build trust and attract new customers by showcasing both your premium ingredients and the ingredients you’ve purposefully left out (think: added sugar). By being transparent and avoiding unbacked claims, you can cultivate brand loyalty in an era where consumers are prioritizing health and safety. Whether online or in grocery stores, your packaging is central to your brand’s message.
As the market continues to evolve, packaging strategies are key to exceeding consumer expectations. Do you need help navigating the current situation? How about managing your inventory or updating your packaging? Our Architects of Packaging Solutions are here to help. Let’s talk.