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Consumer Insights Inspire Occasion Innovation Through Packaging

Working with consumers, we've created sleek new packaging that makes it easier for families to share and store their favorite brands.
Nathan Forney & Angie Stubbs
Sr. Manager, Packtypes Strategy & Sr. Manager, Strategic Growth Platforms

Key Takeaways:

    • The Hershey Company is thrilled to unveil two new pack types in coming months: the Pantry Pack and the King Size Multipack.
    • Designing new packaging takes years of research, and is based on the latest insights into consumer behavior and the evolving retail landscape.
    • Through packaging innovation, Hershey strives to help its retail partners give consumers access to their favorite treats in a variety of sizes, and make more moments of goodness.  

There is no denying that consumers are spending more time at home since the start of the pandemic. New patterns of eating and snacking at home have taken hold. This creates an opportunity to exercise a different kind of innovation, one that meets new occasions with the tried-and-true beloved brands, packaged in different ways.

Over the next few months, we’re excited to unveil two new pack types that we created based on changing consumer behavior and the evolving retail landscape: the Pantry Pack, which holds 25 snack-size pieces of Reese’s, Kit Kat, or York; and the King Size Multipack, which holds four king-size bars of Reese’sReese’s Sticks or Kit Kat. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain on how we learn what consumers want and when they want it— and how we’re advancing occasion innovation through packaging.

Designing the Pantry Pack

As a company, we have historically focused on what we call Price Pack Architecture. What that means is we’re always looking for new ways to bring together an optimal pack form and price point that will offer value to the consumer and drive sales for retail partners. Our new Pantry Pack is a first-rate example of that. The idea for this pack, which is a recyclable box about the length of an egg carton filled with individually wrapped pieces, came from our research revealing how much people love our snack-size candy. 

Traditionally, the snack size has been associated with Halloween and other seasons and sold in lay-down bags. But our insights team found that shoppers are enjoying these individually packaged pieces on a daily basis, year-round. So, we set out to create a new type of snack package that would keep our sweet treats more neat and organized. We wanted a design that would allow consumers to have their favorite candy on hand to treat themselves and share with their family at the times that they wanted it most—without taking up too much kitchen real estate.  

We knew from our research that people want packaging that fits efficiently in the space it’s stored; they want containers that open and close easily and that stack cleanly. We asked our partners to design a pack that checked all of those boxes and could slide into a pantry or refrigerator (we know that some candy lovers like to chill their favorite treats). Then, we shared the designs with consumers—first in focus groups and then actually sending Pantry Packs to nearly 300 homes. We asked for feedback on matters like where did you store it? Who in your household consumed the candy? How much candy did they eat? How easy is it open and close? Does it solve a problem for you?

Through their answers, we learned that 35 percent stored the pack in their refrigerator (a much higher number than we expected!); that organized storage offered easy access and portion control; and that they valued a sleek and versatile design that could feel equally at home on a countertop, or tucked into the pantry or fridge. It took multiple iterations, but with the new Pantry Pack, you can see each of those key design elements. These packs allow households to stock up on their favorite Hershey snacks and enjoy them when and how they want—whether that’s enjoying a chilled York at midnight, or putting a Reese’s into their kids’ lunch boxes.

Creating the King Size Multipack

The King Size Multipack brings together some of our greatest hits by placing king-size bars—a top-selling size—into a multipack. Multipacks have been trending for the last couple of years, both in-store and in digital shopping. The King Size Multipack is the first instance where we’re offering king-size bars in a multipack option. From our research, we know that consumers find multipacks highly versatile. They’re easy to store in the pantry and easy to share with the whole family. 

The multipack gives consumers what they want, while also driving sales for our retail partners: by offering king-size bars in a four-pack, this new packaging can accelerate incremental growth. In the past, King Size fans would grab a bar when checking out. Now, they can grab a multipack in the Take Home aisle to have as a pantry solution and a King Size bar at checkout as a treat. This pack type was also designed with digital purchasing behavior in mind. We understand that many online retailers avoid offering single king size bars in online orders or in-store pickups, because it’s not cost effective. This new pack allows them to capture that instant consumable on a digital platform at a higher price point, and still allows consumers to treat themselves (and their friends and families).

Packaging and purpose

To an outside observer, a new pack type might simply seem like a different arrangement of already existing items. But to us, it’s so much more than that. When we design a new pack, we’re basing it on our deep insights that help us, and our retail partners, understand how consumers think and shop. Since our earliest days, our company’s purpose has been making more moments of goodness. To do that, we must continually innovate, iterate and, most importantly, understand what people want and when they want it, so that we can make it as convenient as possible to share and enjoy. When we get that right, everyone wins.