Kraft Heinz is taking the Lunchables brand to supermarket freezers for the first time with Grilled Cheesies sandwiches packed in innovative, kid-friendly microwavable packaging.
The product is the first to use Kraft Heinz’s 360CRISP packaging, developed in-house. The 360CRISP technology makes it quick, easy, and safe for kids to prepare the product on their own.
Grilled Cheesies require only 60 seconds in the microwave, and the product was formulated to mimic a conventional grilled-cheese sandwich with a crisp exterior and a gooey center.
“The 360CRISP platform that powers Lunchables Grilled Cheesies is unique to Kraft Heinz. It was developed from start to finish to maximize the interaction between the sandwich and packaging, with unique formulations,” says Alan Kleinerman, vice president of disruption at Kraft Heinz. The company developed the technology in less than a year, using an agile pod.
The suggested retail price for Grilled Cheesies is $4.99, and each box holds two sandwiches. The product began rolling out to select retailers across the United States in September 2023. Grilled Cheesies launched in two flavors: Original and Pepperoni Pizza. Both incorporate Kraft Singles processed cheese.
The primary package for each sandwich is a tray with microwave susceptors and die-cut steam vents. Each tray is packed in a clear plastic wrapper printed with the Lunchables logo, and the wrapped trays are tucked into a paperboard carton.
“With Lunchables Grilled Cheesies, the microwavable packaging leverages multiple differentiated focused susceptors inside the tray, with strategic venting and varied heat points to ensure proper cooking throughout the food, delivering a golden-brown, pan-like crisp outside and melty cheese inside,” says Kleinerman.
The goal with 360CRISP is “to disrupt the frozen category by providing high-quality, delicious, and convenient solutions for snack time and beyond,” he adds. “We’re building consumer-first innovations that sit at the intersection between food and technology to revolutionize the meal table, and [360CRISP] is just the beginning.”
Kleinerman says initial consumer feedback on Grilled Cheesies has been “very positive. As current frozen kid-friendly sandwich options fall short in texture and preparation, we wanted to offer a nostalgic family favorite that many kids ask for after school, on the weekends, and beyond … providing a convenient snack option that empowers kids to independently prepare it in the microwave, no pans or stove necessary.”
Kraft Heinz plans to use the 360CRISP packaging in the launch of five new products across four brands by the end of 2024. “Grilled Cheesies is just the beginning, and we are always working to develop new and innovative platforms and products that meet our consumer need,” Kleineman notes.
This amateur reviewer (a consumer) also scores the packaging well. The product? Not so much. (Caution: Swearing)
Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.