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Who was the Sir Mix-a-Lot of stick packs?
Well, just as the American rapper wasn’t solely responsible for his 1992 massive hit record, it’s difficult to give sole credit to any singular company for the invention of stick packs.
Each company was integral in popularizing this new and more convenient packaging format, but it was Sanko that introduced their machinery to the U.S. market in 1996. This opened a world of innovation opportunities for American CPG brands to develop a wide variety of dry and liquid food products in stick packs. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that only a year later the first runaway success happened when General Mills launched Yoplait Go-Gurt yogurt tubes.
While these skinny, flexible pouches are still likely most recognizable by mainstream consumers because of sugar substitutes, stick packs are also not new to the supplement industry. Again, the history of successfully commercializing powdered supplements in stick packs is fuzzy, but the packaging format had customarily been used as a cost-effective way to capture the attention and taste buds of consumers during events. Regardless of which brands laid the groundwork though, the supplement industry experienced a commercialization paradigm shift with stick packs because of the “Liquid I.V. Effect” in the late-2010s. What was once a packaging format most notably utilized for product sampling in the supplement industry became a foundational strategic element of a billion-dollar supplement brand because its value was synergistically between the needs of brand marketers and consumers.
It is undeniable that stick packs have quietly become a ubiquitous packaging format central to many leading products, but what are some common “Four Ps of Marketing” reasons why supplement brands benefit from utilizing them…
As consumers navigate a rapidly changing world, they’re increasingly searching for portable and convenient nutrition to fit their busy lifestyles. While gimmicky formats fall out of favor quickly, consumers have embraced stick packs for several beneficial reasons that have stood the test of time…
Another possible hidden driver of why consumers, especially younger consumers, love stick packs revolves around dopamine. Gen Z consumers have had a smartphone in their hands and access to social media accounts since they were born, which has made them dopamine junkies. That growing marketplace reality could prompt certain packaging considerations that feed the consumer desire for that naturally occurring “feel-good” chemical. Ripping open a single-serving stick pack daily would increase the amount of “pleasurable events” compared to simply cracking open a two-pound tub of whey protein.
As consumers navigate a rapidly changing world, they’re increasingly searching for portable and convenient nutrition to fit their busy lifestyles.
Stick packs are a worthwhile packaging format to consider within new product development (NPD) because it offers high customization and flexibility along a variety of features. While leveraging stick packs within your upcoming launch into the hydration supplement category is cool and all, have you considered these more intriguing product innovations…
The consideration of stick packs might not be warranted in every NPD discussion, but it’s hard to deny that the future of this packaging format looks bright when you consider how well they’re positioned between the needs of brand marketers and consumers.
If you’re interested in learning more about the nutritious, convenient, and scientifically proven solutions, provided by Nutiani, that can also work within stick packaging, check out:
Owner of J. Schall Consulting
Joshua Schall, MBA is a CPG industry strategist with an emphasis on the emerging and intersecting categories of functional food, beverage, and nutritional supplements. Within the last decade, he’s successfully built J. Schall Consulting into a world-renowned leader in growth strategies. He accredits much of this success to his dynamic fascination of the ever-changing consumer behaviors.