Mini and single-serve packs prove less is more

Kate Bertrand Connolly in Packaging Design on April 17, 2015

Small packages deliver big value for food, beverage, healthcare and personal-care products.


Single-serve and miniaturized packaging is hot and getting hotter, for food and beverage as well as health and beauty products. Consumer lifestyles are driving the trend toward smaller packs, with numerous factors playing a role.

For food and drinks, issues like convenience, dietary awareness, freshness and reducing waste are core drivers. A growing range of eating and drinking occasions—at home, work, school and in-transit—is part of the mix, too.

“It’s a lot about convenience,” including both portability and on-the-go functionality, says Brian Wagner, vp, consulting services, Packaging Technology Integrated Solutions for HAVI Global Solutions. “Portable meaning I can take it somewhere else to consume. On-the-go meaning I can use it while I’m moving,” he explains. Thus, single-serve packs often need to be small enough to fit into a pocket, backpack or purse and tough enough to survive the rigors of those environments.

With health and wellness motivating more consumers, portion/calorie control and nutrition (real or perceived) also are driving sales of single-serve foods and beverages.

The Evolution of Eating report from Acosta Sales & Marketing shows that 61% of grocery shoppers believe reading food labels while they shop is very important to their health and wellness.

That level of label scrutiny, together with the FDA’s proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label, may inspire brand owners to introduce even more single-serving packs as consumers gain greater awareness of exactly how much of everything—calories as well as nutrients—are in a package of food.

“As it becomes more evident and obvious on a label that there are potential negatives associated with whatever I’m buying, I can envision companies rightsizing [or] downsizing” their packaging, Wagner says.

For health and beauty products, consumers’ desire for variety, affordability and, again, on-the-go convenience and portability are paving the way for more miniaturized packaging.

TSA regulations require mini personal-care packaging for air travelers with carry-on luggage. And even day-trippers and commuters, for practical reasons, prefer small, lightweight products and packaging. Nobody willingly throws a full-size bottle of hand sanitizer into his or her bag, whether going to the gym or crossing an ocean.

These new products make the most of these mini or single-serve packaging trends.


Kid friendly

American Beverage Corp. is bringing single-serve convenience to the younger set with its HUG Fruit Slushee line. The products are packaged in a shelf-stable, foil-laminate pouch. Freezing the 8-oz pouch transforms the liquid product into a slush pop that can be consumed straight from the pouch.

“The pouch’s snow-cone shape provides an easy-to-hold package for children,” says Molly Boras, senior director of innovation at American Beverage. In addition, “the pouches have an easy-tear strip that creates a 2-inch opening for easy consumption.”

Other than freezing, the product requires no preparation, so kids can serve themselves after school or whenever they’re in charge of their own treats. And the pouch can be tucked into a lunchbox, preferably a well-insulated one. The product comes in two flavors: Strawberry and Blue Raspberry.

American Beverage designed the package structure in-house, and The Biondo Group designed the graphics.


Click next to see Sheba Perfect Portions cat food.

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I don't like the packaging of the Sheba Perfect Portions at all!!! * First - it squirts out juice when I try to open it * Second - there is less cat food for the $$ than the cans * Third - it is NOT the perfect portion for my cats who eat tiny meals * Fourth - it cannot be fully resealed so it smells up the refrigerator * Fifth - If I don't use all in one portion and try to save the rest by re-tucking the top - the juice congeals and is hard to get out; hence a dry second serving
I bought Sheba for years for 8 cats at one time. My cats are aging and we have lost a few, but I still feed 5 cats Sheba in the morning and evening. I split 3 cans between 5 cats. Now if I buy the perfect portions I get less food and it costs a lot more and the packaging is difficult to open. I am now buying Fancy Feast.
I agree about juice squirting out when first open, very annoying. I've learned to open very slowly and to avoid squirt. I like the portion size, my two cats are more likely to eat it all before it goes dry into little pebbles. Its more expensive than a can, but I'm certain they waste less. Label on underside says recyclable but without a number. So I assume that its really not recyclable with 1 - 6 recycle codes. Pity because I have lots of those little trays per week.