The company’s lead packaging engineer discusses the better-for-you portable snacks that bring mess-free convenience to consumers.
When it comes to packaging, convenience has long been the leader of the pack. On the food side, health and wellness are center-of-plate considerations driving growth in better-for-you eating options.
Kellogg’s merged those trends with the March introduction of Keebler brand Town House Pita and Flatbread Cracker and Hummus Snack Boxes that also address a more recent option in packaging-driven convenience: on-the-go snacking. So it’s not surprising that the packaging was developed internally by the Kellogg North American Snacks OTG (on-the-go) team.
The products provide consumers a convenient way to grab a better-for-you bite when time is limited, which describes a growing segment where increasingly busy American consumers are searching for snacks that bridge the gap between meals versus sitting down for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It's the first time that Kellogg Snacks North America has offered an assemble-your-own food kit that includes crackers and shelf-stable hummus, according to Tom Hanel, Kellogg’s lead packaging engineer.
“The snack boxes were designed for both individual sale and as a 3-count multipack,” he says. “Both formats were designed to deliver through traditional Kellogg storage and distribution systems, though the packaging materials selected also protect the integrity of the crackers and hummus when placed in deli cases and refrigerators.”
It wasn’t the only twist the team took on conventional packaging.
Adapts materials used for beverage packaging
The boxes are manufactured using 18-point Solid Unbleached Sulfate (SUS) paperboard with a moisture coating. Hanel reports that Kellogg’s extensive testing determined that this caliper provided the print quality and appearance desired by the brand, protected the product through distribution and allowed the opening feature to function cleanly and consistently.
“The board is most commonly used in beverage packaging,” Hanel explains, “but was selected for this product due to potential exposure to moisture in lunchboxes and coolers to address how hummus traditionally is distributed even though the inner packaging is designed for shelf-stable distribution and sale.”
The boxes boast a large window on the face panel to deliver visual appetite appeal regarding the ingredients, contents and quality desired by today’s health-conscious consumers. “Having a view window to show the crackers and hummus was crucial,” he adds.
The inner components were also given a careful packaging review. The Keebler Town House branded Snack Boxes contain a 1oz sachet of Pita or Flatbread crackers packed in an “enhanced, clear moisture-barrier film,” as well as a single-serve cup of hummus from Truitt Farms that’s been hot filled for shelf stability.
A specially design open-and-reclose tuck tab gives consumers easy access to the contents to enjoy the snack directly from the snack box.
“Snackers will appreciate the design that eliminates the need for a plate or other utensils and allows them to keep their space clean and tidy,” Hanel says. “A reclosure also retains the food packs in the carton when interruptions prevent them from finishing the snacks, which also helps minimize food waste.”
Next: Snacks' dual-path packaging development assesses sustainability.
Hungry for fresh ideas in food packaging and more? Join the packaging experience during MinnPack in Minneapolis November 8-9 that’s part of a comprehensive all-in-one 6-event plastics and advanced manufacturing exhibition. For more information, visit MinnPack.