Mix & match: Packaging solutions amid the customization trend

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25 Apr 2018 --- Within the food industry, the key trend of customization looks set to continue. The trend reflects a consumer who is more inclined to have a say in what they eat, through the personalization and customization of their food on a nutritional or taste basis. Innovative packaging solutions are appearing on the market, in response to this stable trend and making personalized nutrition on-the-go a particularly viable reality.

Innova Markets Insights states that customization is at play across the board, and reports that it is particularly notable in the foodservice space i.e., restaurants. Overall data indicated that 57 percent of diners said they believed it was their right to customize their order.

In this way, suppliers are also offering the option to customize snacks, and the accompanying packaging solutions are proving to be innovative. The customization trend has undoubtedly outgrown the kids pick and mix candy section.

Mixing and matching for a personalized feel
A mix and match option gives a consumer more agency over their snacking, or meal choice, and a range of packaging solutions are catering to this.

First up is RPC Superfos’ Superlock container that gives shoppers in Belgium the opportunity to enjoy an interactive and personalized shopping experience. Customers can mix their own selection of nuts, either in a 300g or 450g container.

Click to Enlarge
RPC Superfos’s Superlock container

“We wanted to present our nuts in a new and attractive way, allowing for more direct interaction with end-users, so we came up with the pick & mix idea and needed a suitable container to match our stand. RPC Superfos suggested the SuperLock solution, and it really has it all: an easy-to-use screw lid, the right size and strong material which withstands multiple uses in many situations,” says Gilles Jeuris, one of the company’s founders.

Moreover, the container is marketed as a reliable on-the-go product, with the Superlock deliberately being sized in such a way that it fits into car cup holders, further convenience is provided by the re-closure mechanism of the screw lid, which makes an audible click when closed correctly.

The container also touts being reusable, “We like the idea of our pot being re-used for various purposes,” confirms Gilles. “The SuperLock solution adds value to our business because it matches our idea of sustainability, our practical mind and the brand image of Ranobo.”
 
Further in consumer orientated packaging solutions is Sealpac's fresh mix and match solution. FoodIngredientsFirst spoke to Marcel Veenstra, of Sealpac, at this years Anuga Foodtec in Cologne, who described the product: 

“The special part is that the soup is supplied by the supermarket and there, you will find it with the top lid empty. In the store, the customer can decide which ingredients they would like to put into the soup e.g., small pieces of shrimp. You scoop it into the tray, weigh it, click it and bring it to the cashier.”

Click to Enlarge
The innovative Sealpac product
recently made its debut in Norway

The container also delivers on the convenience trend, “It is fresh and tailored to the customers’ needs. It is a mix and match, where you choose your ingredients and it is very convenient as you can heat it all in the microwave for just a few minutes.”

The ability for consumers to customize their meals to their particular tastes not only taps into the more nutritionally aware consumer, but also could provide a certain novel level of entertainment around snack time.

Pre-packed for convenience
Manufacturers also deliver extra-convenient packaging solutions for in-store, on-the-go purchasing, which essentially skip the mix and match step but still offer an interactive moment for consumers as they customize their food. 

Arla Foods addressed these trends by adding a crispy salad topping to the Apetina product, Innova Market Insights reports. The packaging challenge was to combine wet and dry in one pack. Superfos, which already supplied the existing Apetina packaging, presented a catalog of 20 solutions as a result of a joint idea generation workshop with Arla Foods. 

This led to a new customized packaging. The cheese is separated from the topping by a transparent top closure holding the croutons or a mix of nuts and dried fruit, and consumers add the topping themselves in a novel manner.

In a space over inundated with choice and competition, it is crucial for products to stand out to consumers in one way or another. Customization, it would seem, is a novel attempt that can attract consumers to choosing one product, over another.

By Laxmi Haigh

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