On-the-Go – Just Add Some Hot Water

Photo courtesy Waitrose

In its new report, titled “Snacking in America 2012”, market research organization NPD Group, concludes that although breakfast is the most common meal, accounting for 28% of all eating occasions, followed by dinner (27%), and lunch (25%), snacks are not far behind at 20%.

Over half of Americans (53%) snacked two to three times a day, the market researcher found, and those with the healthiest overall diets were most likely to snack frequently.

Historically, changes in consumer eating habits have driven new product development. However according to a report conducted by US trade association PMMI, investment in packaging developments is especially apparent among snacks manufacturers,  predominantly fuelled by retail demands.

The USA are home to an on-the-go population. SymphonyIRI‘s 2012 Consumer Snacking Survey reveals that more than one-third of the population often eats snacks instead of meals when on-the-go. Manufacturers across many food and beverage categories are catering to consumers’ on-the-go eating and drinking behaviours. In 2011, 37% of successful new food and beverage launches touted quicker or more portable attributes, versus an historical average of 28%. Thanks to the escalation of new technologies and new designs, manufacturers are making it faster and easier to enjoy a wide array of foods and beverages at and from home.

For those consumers looking for quick-preparation, yet premium quality, fresh flavours, rich textures, and the comforting taste of a homemade the market recently has been hit by packaging designs with the time-starved consumer in mind.

Coffe Bag
Danish coffee brewer Nordic created a disposable French press, which it called the Coffeebrewer, and that works right inside its own pouch.
The Coffeebrewer is basically a hybrid between a filter dripmaker and a French Press. The design of The Coffeebrewer enables a perfect extraction as the volume of the pouch allows the hot water to interact with the coffee grounds and extract the aroma.
The unique brewing system is designed to preserve the coffee’s natural oils. This enhances the delicate flavours and finer aromas of the coffee, which otherwise can only be achieved by using a French press.

Inside the pouch is a filter with 26 g of freshly ground coffee. To brew 3 cups of coffee, all you need is to open the pouch, pour ½ litre of hot water into it, and let it brew for 5-8 min.

The filter will effectively separate the brewed coffee from the grounds and when you have served the first 1½ cup the remaining coffee will be under the filter and the brewing process will stop. This means that the coffee will not go bitter over time like in a French Press.

The Coffeebrewer clearly uses more packaging material per cup of coffee than most other on-the-go coffee brewing solutions. The pouch size is like A5 paper and the thickness is 1 cm. The pouch weighs 45 g.

The pouch doesn’t use an aluminium layer, but is made from 7.7 g PE, 1.6 g PET and 6.8 g paper coming from reforested Swedish woods. PE isn’t supposed to be harmful to the environment as it consists of coal (C) and hydrogen (H2), which are a natural part of our environment.

Maggi “Moment Mahl“
The Nestlé Product Technology Centre in Singen (Hohentwiel), Deutschland designed a practical collapsible-cup packaging for instant soups. The packaging is remarkable due to the combination of a flexible pouch that contains the product and a folding paperboard part that turns into a convenient cup upon squeezing the bag.

Special of the packaging for “Moment Mahl“ soups is that the soup bowl is already integrated in the pouch. The consumer just has to tear off the top edge of the foil and squeeze the surrounding paperboard ring at the marked locations until the cup clicks, creating a stable soup terrine. Then he/she pours boiling water into the cup, stirs vigorously, waits three minutes, after which the soup can be enjoyed.

The new Maggi “Moment Mahl” soups give each cup a serving of 250 ml.

The packaging of the Maggi “Moment Mahl” soups presents a perfect solution for snacking on-the-go, for a short break at work, or the slight feeling of hunger between meals. Compared to conventional solid-cup packaging solutions, this packaging, going from a flat-pouch to a soup bowl, scores points for excellent space-saving performance in transport and storage.

Batchelors Deli Box
Claiming to have taken inspiration from the stylish paperboard noodle cartons popular in America, Batchelors new Deli Box pasta varieties are ideal for lunches ‘al desko’, for on-the-go and those balancing busy family life. The consumer just pulls back the easy peel top, adds hot water, stirs and leaves to stand for 5 minutes to create a mini-meal of a 75g sized portion.

Although the portion packaging looks like it has some interesting ‘green’ credentials, there is nothing about the advantages of the packaging, its design or its materials used on the company website. It is very disturbing and shows an absolute negligence for the environmental conscious consumer, that Batchelors isn’t revealing anything about the packaging itself, although it might be known that in 2012 the consumer is anxious to have more details. Consumer surveys and market reports all are pointing in this direction.

Alexir is the manufacturer of the packaging. But even that website doesn’t give any proper information, except some meaningless “case story” that goes as follows: “An initial enquiry from Premier, to Alexir Co-Packers, regarding a co-packing project for a new range of dried instant pasta snacks led to a group-wide co-operation including the production of a cost engineered SRP (Shelf Ready Pack) by Alexir International”.
But nothing about the so-called “cost engineered SRP”.

Anyway the packaging looks very familiar and similar to the CFS EcoPlus, I wrote about in my article: “Evolution from Optimum-Pack to EcoPlus pack”.
I will repeat here some details of the EcoPlus, so that my readers at least have some idea what the Batchelors/Alexir Deli Box is like.

CFS Germany GmbH developed the EcoPlus as an inexpensive alternative to the paperboard and prefabricated tray solution. The advantage of this packaging is its simple structure. It consists on the outside of paperboard and on the inside of film. Both parts are separated by an air compartment. The paperboard can be printed all over before it is folded into a box. The film insert consists of rigid or flexible film.

EcoPlus Pack with Machine

If PP film is used there is no reason why it shouldn’t be heated in a microwave (or hot water added as Batchelors Deli Box requires). The paperboard will then only become hand-hot thanks to the “air-cushion” between the paperboard wall and the film. After use the paperboard and the film can be disposed of separately.

As said snacking is a booming industry. The global market for snacks set to soar to USD 334bn by 2015. We will see more interesting packaging solution for this market segment in the future.

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2 responses to “On-the-Go – Just Add Some Hot Water

  1. Pingback: Interesting Developments in Stand-Up Pouches – Part 02 | Best In Packaging·

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