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Powdered Convenience: The Renaissanceof Stick Packs


  • Physical Wellbeing
  • Article
  • Blog
  • Mental Wellbeing

Powdered Convenience: The Renaissance of Stick Packs

Powdered Convenience: The Renaissance of Stick Packs

Concept Card: Phospholipid & Protein Powder

Powdered Convenience: The Renaissance of Stick Packs

Powdered Convenience: The Renaissance of Stick Packs

Concept Card: Probiotic & Protein Powder

Powdered Convenience: The Renaissance of Stick Packs

Powdered Convenience: The Renaissance of Stick Packs

Concept Card: Mobility Fortified Protein Powder

The 90s are back baby! So, should it really surprise supplement industry professionals that a packaging format popularized during that era is having a renaissance of sorts?
“Baby Got Back[story]” of Stick Packs

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.

  • Jel Sert started producing freezer pops in the 1960s.
  • Imperial Chemical Industries (UK) tried packaging beer in flexible tubular pouches in the 1960s.
  • Sanko Machinery Co., Ltd. (Japan) introduced the stick pack for sweeteners in the 1970s.

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.

Why Brand Marketers Love Stick Packs

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…

  • Product: stick packs can be utilized across a variety of different product categories, have a long shelf life, and provide strong utility.
  • Price: because stick packs are small and produced on very fast, dedicated machines, their per-unit cost is low, making them both efficient and cost-effective.
  • Placement: stick packs provide more flexibility in which sales channel and which sections they can be merchandised in compared to traditional multi-serving tubs and bottles.
  • Promotion: because stick packs are usually single servings, they provide ease for trial through product sampling. 



Why Consumers Love Stick Packs

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…

  • Portability: stick packs are small and lightweight which provide the ultimate travel accessory for many diverse consumer cohorts.
  • Portion Control: stick packs feature foolproof transparent dosages that improve the consistency of the usage experience.
  • Ease of Use: stick packs are easy to pour into a secondary vessel, such as a water bottle.
  • Economical: stick packs offer a more affordable entry point for weary consumers looking to discover new products.
  • Quality: stick packs are created in a manner that optimizes oxygen/moisture barrier properties that can keep the product fresh longer.

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.

Joshua Scall

Owner of J. Schall Consulting

Stick Pack New Product Development Opportunities

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…

  • Help consumers battle the “case of the Mondays” with an herbal and adaptogen formula that’s mood-boosting, calms the mind, and fits into their backpack.
  • Help consumers hypercharge their morning caffeinated beverage with a coffee creamer that includes a precise measurement of energizing mushrooms and stress-relieving Nutaini phospholipids, so they can use it even when on-the-go.
  • Help consumers maximize optionality with flavor enhancements that can be combined to any active nutrition product base, such as a pre-workout powder.

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:


Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the opinion of the author, and Fonterra is not responsible for any decisions taken in reliance on the same.


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