On-The-Go Snack Foods Are Changing the Packaging Industry

Flexible packaging is trending as consumer buying habits shift
March 11, 2023

Flexible Packaging: Changing The "On-The-Go" Snack Industry

The snack food industry is a big business, estimated at nearly $44 billion in sales domestically in 2022. This ever-changing market has a few key trends worth investigating – particularly in regard to consumers who love to snack while on the go.

Snack Food Buying Habits

On-the-go snacks have skyrocketed in popularity as consumers start resuming “normal” lifestyles after the pandemic. With the return of hectic work/life schedules, consumers crave something that is quick, convenient and easy to toss into a purse or gym bag on the way out the door. Perhaps somewhat ironically, we have seen a rise in two categories for on-the-go snacks that appear to be polar opposites: ready-to-eat bakery items and healthy and vegan snacks.

Ready-to-Eat Bakery Snacks

Store-bought, ready-to-eat bakery items are attracting consumers looking for a quick treat with little to no preparation necessary. It’s just easier to reach for a ready-to-eat chocolate chip cookie than it is to run to the grocery store for ingredients, prep and bake them fresh. Items such as muffins, cookies and donuts dominate this on-the-go snack category as consumers increasingly find them ideal for delicious breakfasts and speedy treats.

Healthy and Vegan Snacks

On the other hand, we are also seeing a rise in demand for healthy and vegan snacks. According to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), the U.S. plant-based food market grew by more than 11% in 2019-2020 to reach a value of $5 billion. This was five times the growth rate of overall food sales – and that trend continues.

Both health and sustainability factors are playing into this rise in demand. Plant-based foods use fewer natural resources and place much less stress on the environment. In addition, many vegan foods lower the risk of heart disease and promote healthy weight loss.

Flexible Packaging Meets On-The-Go Snacking

BloomBerg U.S. Edition reports that overall sales in the on-the-go food packaging market are expected to approach $2 billion by the end of 2022. Features such as easy-to-open package designs and freshness barriers are enabling food manufacturers to capitalize on this change in consumer buying habits.

 One type of packaging, in particular, is ideally positioned for this trend. Just like on-the-go snacks, flexible packaging solutions are quick to use, portable and lightweight. Indeed, flexible packaging is ideal for on-the-go snacks as it offers:

  • A higher product-to-packaging ratio, making it 23% lighter than traditional rigid packaging
  • Ultra-high barriers that ensure product quality
  • Greater shelf-life extension
  • Lower production costs
  • Better product visibility and branding opportunities
  • Convenience for the end user

Three Current Trends in Flexible Packaging

Want your flexible packaging to “own the shelf” and stand out against the competition? There are three trends that on-the-go snack creators everywhere should consider.

Eco-friendly Solutions

Consumer demand for sustainable packaging is on the rise. Sustainable packaging has a more significant influence than ever before on consumers' purchasing habits. In fact, researchers have found that many consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging attributes.


Minimalistic packaging eliminates distractions, allowing the brand's message to become the central focus. Simple designs are in vogue and are proven to be highly effective at capturing consumers’ attention. 

Interactive Features

Interactive packaging designs, such as QR codes and AR (augmented reality) properties, allow consumers to engage more deeply with your product. Features like these create fun experiences for consumers and make products more memorable in a crowded marketplace.

The Pouch House: Flexible Packaging for Snack Foods

The Pouch House, a Taylor Corporation company, manufactures the custom-printed flexible packaging products that are so in demand in the snack food industry. Our G7 Master Printer certification and Safe Quality Food (SQF) certified facility enables snack food companies to deliver safe, fresh food products to the market in packaging that grabs the attention of all who pass by.

See for yourself how our stand up pouches are helping consumers satisfy their cravings for on-the-go snacks. Contact The Pouch House to learn more and get a custom quote.

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