Smaller is better... When it comes to food packaging as consumers look to rein in portions and snacking

Francesca Washtell
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Various chips packets are displayed in t
Crisps are one of the snacks regularly sold in the smallest size band of plastic packaging (Source: Getty)

If you thought the size of your snacks had gotten smaller over the last few years, you weren't imagining it.

Unfortunately for snackers, the move to "rightsize" to smaller flexible plastic packs (which often hold items like crisps and chocolate) is a "new trend" in 2016.

It is also is set to grow in popularity as it gives consumers "a sense of control over snacking, portion and mindfulness over sugar intake in foods and soft drinks", according to Euromonitor International's 2016 packaging data. 

The smallest flexible pack size band, 0-50g, holds the largest share of retail food packaging volumes globally. Worldwide volumes of retail food packaging units rose by more than three per cent in 2015 to reach almost two trillion units, while the 0-50g size band experienced the highest growth spike and is expected to post a four per cent compound annual growth rate to 2020. 

Although health conscious consumers are driving the trend in certain countries, it is also primarily down to the need for immediate affordability in rural areas of developing countries across Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa. These three regions together account for 65 per cent of volumes in the smallest size band. 

Read more: Public consultation could introduce sugar advertising crackdown

Rosemarie Downey, head of packaging at Euromonitor International, said: 

Snacking, portion control and consumer mindfulness over sugar intake are pertinent trends in foods and soft drinks behind the movement to buy in smaller quantities and supported by a number of government initiatives that address national health concerns like sugar intake and obesity.

Affordability is another factor that strengthens the success of the going smaller trend, also apparent in beauty, home care and premium alcoholic beverages.

Within foods, the impact of snacking and portion control is a trend that now also goes beyond the traditional snacking echelons of the confectionery, biscuits and savoury snacks categories as a greater array of single-serve products are sold as snacks and often in rigid plastic or flexible packaging for that all-important consumer convenience as witnessed in new product launches.

Since the sugar levy, which will apply to soft drinks from 2018, was introduced in the March Budget companies have been under increasing scrutiny over the amount of sugar in their foods and drinks. 

Mars Food, which owns the likes of Uncle Ben's and Masterfoods, warned many of its products should only be eaten "occasionally" in mid-April, as they contain higher amounts of fat, sugar and salt than those viewed as "everyday" foods. 

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