Sweet wrappers: Formats and features that create added-value in confectionary packaging

Changing lifestyles mean that packaging is evolving to accommodate new consumption opportunities for confectionery products. Eloise McLennan explores the newest trends in confectionery packaging outlined in the latest report from Canadean by Gemma Hill


Confectionary packaging is being used to engage consumers past the point of purchase. Image courtesy of Arina P Habich


Confectionery can represent many things for a variety of people; from an anticipated treat you keep for yourself to a luxurious present to be shared with loved ones. Regarded as something enjoyable and indulgent, consuming confectionery is one of life's simple pleasures.

However, according to a recent Canadean report titled ‘Adding Value through Packaging: Confectionery; Identifying pack formats and features that make a brand worth paying more for’, consumers are moving away from basic experiences and are looking to get something more from their sweet treats.

The demands placed upon confectionery manufacturers are not simple; modern consumers are increasingly seeking out enhanced and novel experiences, as well as engaging packing designs. To accommodate consumer needs, a product has to fill numerous requirements simultaneously. It has to fit into their lifestyle, reflect their personality and enhance how they want to be perceived by others.

Packaging is a significant tool that manufacturers can use to enhance the sense of enjoyment and generate a feeling of individuality for the consumer. Using entertaining branding and taglines, tactile surface decoration, clever pack construction, and harnessing technology to encourage greater consumer engagement, confectionery brands pulling out all the stops to create added value packaging to attract and retain consumers.

Smart dispensing solutions for chewing gum reflect the changing needs of consumers

"Push-button systems allow for convenient, one-handed opening."

When the chewing gum tub format first appeared on the market in the early 2000s, the design resembled food supplement packs with a simple hinged or flip-top lid. However, while this design is ideal for storing at home or keeping in a desk at work as it can accommodate a larger amount of gum pellets, this delivery method may not be suitable for on-the-go consumers.

To accommodate the changing needs of consumers, brands in the Asian market have been experimenting with alternative dispensing features that facilitate simple and hygienic consumption. Two brands – Lotte in South Korea and Orion in China – have released tubs with push-release mechanisms that move the gum closer to the dispensing aperture. These push-button systems allow for convenient, one-handed opening, while the movable parts make it possible to dispense a single piece of gum without touching the rest of the pellets inside the pack.

Another successful example of smart gum packaging identified by Canadean is Frisk sugarless chewing gum. The pack includes a set of papers for hygienic disposal of used gum when on the go, which satisfies the push for more environmentally responsible packaging. Additionally, the papers have a peelable adhesive that covers the full surface area, which prevents the papers from ruffling and becoming scruffy when the pack is carried in a bag or pocket.

Augmented experiences add value beyond purchase

"Confectionery has evolved to accommodate new opportunities for consumer engagement."

As the market for novel and interactive packaging develops in popularity, the role of packaging in confectionery has evolved to accommodate new opportunities for consumer engagement. Packs are no longer just used to contain a product and, according to Canadean, consumers are willing to pay more for an enhanced, memorable brand experience.

Recent developments in smartphone technology have opened up new avenues for brands to expand the appeal of their products by creating technology-enriched physical packaging designs that prompt further interaction after purchase. This can be as simple as creating designs that can be modified and personalised, or using packaging as a vehicle to link consumers with social media campaigns. Additionally, augmented reality apps can add value to confectionery packaging and create positive product experiences for younger generations.

Canadean has identified a number of successful examples of interactive packaging, including Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk, which featured a pull-out ‘bookmark’ style message tag that linked to the #SayItWithSilk campaign. Consumers are further encouraged to interact with the brand: they can use their phone to receive a web-link to send a customised doodle to your Valentine.

Stylish sharing solutions adapt to a variety of consumption occasions

"A sleek and distinctive design can appeal to consumers looking to impress."

While indulgence and enjoyment are key purchasing triggers for confectionery products, a growing number of consumers looking for ways to enjoy themselves at home, rather than going out, has led to a demand for larger packs sizes that are suitable for sharing. This offers brands an opportunity to create stylish sharing packs with a strong sensory appeal that enhances the luxurious feel of a brand and attracts consumers who are looking to stand out from the crowd. Packaging features, such as a unique shape, bright colours or surface texture, can improve shelf presence in a cluttered market and entice people to pick up the pack for a closer look.

Sophisticated packs that open out into a ‘serving dish’ format can adapt to suit a multitude of consumption occasions. A sleek and distinctive design can appeal to consumers looking to impress, for example at a dinner party where consumers can show off the packaging to friends, while the easy access format maintains a high level of functionality suitable for low key occasions, where guests are invited to help themselves, such as a movie night. For both types of occasion, the opening process creates a ritual and encourages consumer interaction to enhance brand engagement.

After Eight mint pralines selection is one example of how sharing packs can accommodate both style and function to create a luxurious at-home confectionery experience. The pack was launched to appeal to the Christmas market, where the concept of sharing formats would be very appropriate. The box features end flaps, which unfold to reveal gusseted sides that open out for sharing, while the presentation established a luxurious feel, making the pack ideal for gifting. 

Read the full report: Adding Value Through Packaging: Confectionery ; Using Pack-Track to identify pack formats and features that make a brand worth paying more for