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Kellogg’s kits packed for on-the-go snacking

Kellogg’s kits packed for on-the-go snacking
Keebler brand better-for-you portable snacks bring mess-free convenience to consumers in single serve and 3-count multipacks.

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.

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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.

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Sustainability assessed in dual-path development

As with all packaging projects, Kellogg’s took sustainability into consideration to keep both costs and the environmental impact low.

“Food kits and single-serve formats by their nature present unique sustainability challenges,” says Hanel. “The development team dual-pathed two pack formats for execution: an all-clear, polymer-based deli-style thermoform format and the carton with window that we decided to bring to market.  The launch team reviewed the pros and cons of each format. One of the major pros of the selected format was that it was a more readily recyclable solution for consumers whether in the office, or at school and other locations where they will be snacking.  Although the window is not recyclable, most recycling facilities are able to separate it from the rest of the carton, which is recyclable.” 

Another value-added aspect, a peg-hole tab, was considered for the products’ placement at certain retail outlets.

“That feature supports expanded channel distribution where applicable,” Hanel explains. “It was delivered without financial impact to project. We’re as of yet uncertain of the activity for this feature, which is useful at airports, C-store or point-of-sale placement. One minor challenge to make that happen is that it required glue pattern changes to retain the ability to break perforations on the tab for use at store.”

The project, which relied on Kellogg’s usual vendors, was satisfying for Hanel and his team.

“It felt great to deliver the snack boxes within the on-the-go aisle for cookies and crackers through relevant food pairings and packaging,” he says. “At a personal level, I was most pleased with the ability to bring this forward with transparent packaging. The importance of showing consumers great-looking food and offering convenience through the pack design certainly strengthened the concept.”

Launched in March of 2017 at $2.29 for the single snack box and $5.99 for the 3-count multipack, both formats can be found in traditional retail stores, as well as Kellogg’s drug and dollar discount store partners across North America.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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.

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