Snack Bar Standouts: Six Packaging Design Elements to Keep in Mind

Americans love snacks. According to a recent Mintel report, 95 percent of U.S. adults snack daily, and 70 percent snack more than twice per day. This eating habit grew the snack bar category alone 20 percent from 2012 to 2017, with growth expected to continue by an additional 4.4 percent by 2023. So how are CPG brands selling snack bars supposed to stand out in this competitive, crowded space? Beyond having a great product and designing the perfect package — one that resonates with their target market and helps set a snack bar brand apart — here are six ways to make a statement in the snack aisle.


Consumers in 2019 want to know what’s in their snacks and tend to lean toward brands that put all their cards on the table. They want to see what they’re buying too, making clear packaging design a plus. KIND bars put their product on full display.

Takeaway: Consumers want to know what they’re putting in their bodies. Let them know you have nothing to hide.

That's it and KIND bars are an example of using transparency in CPG snack bar packaging design.


Packaging design is an opportunity to concisely tell a brand story to potential customers. Touting a lifestyle, cause or mission that consumers can connect with can go a long way. CLIF Bar’s outdoor, adventure-focused illustration reflects their brand and serves as a call-out for likeminded consumers looking for a snack that meets their energy needs.

Takeaway: A well-crafted story through prominent visuals or copy can provide that extra inspiration that will provoke a purchase.

CLIF bars use storytelling to make engaging snack bar packaging design.

Minimalist, Clean Design

 More consumers than ever actively seek-out healthier snack bar options made of simple, real ingredients. The packaging design should reflect that clean, minimalist lifestyle. RXBAR uses a clean color palette and highlights ingredients clearly by putting them front and center and underlining each one.

Takeaway: Simple packaging can help establish authenticity.

RXBars use a clean color palette and shows ingredients on snack bar packaging design.

Design Needs to Reinforce Price Point

If brands expect consumers to purchase at a premium price point, the packaging design should reflect the perceived value of the product. As a matter of comparison, Kashi bars cost $20 for a box of 12, while conventional Chewy granola bars are just $4 for a box of 18. The clean, white design and matte texture of Kashi’s packaging showcases its superior value against Chewy’s bright, cluttered, package.

Takeaway: The quality of your packaging should meet or exceed the quality of your product. 

A comparison of Kashi and Chewy bars to show price point and quality of snack bar packaging design.

Prioritize Branding

Some products’ greatest appeal is they have “homemade” roots. As such, packaging can sometimes be an afterthought, or give off a DIY impression. Strategic design can help deliver a nice balance for fast-growing brands that have a homegrown image to preserve. LÄRABAR began in its founder’s kitchen, then grew exponentially. The basic, clean lines of packaging, paired with eye-catching colors evoke a natural feel with a modern twist.

Takeaway: Even if resources are limited, positioning, story and packaging design should be a top priority.

LARABAR uses their homemade roots on their snackbar packaging design.

Stand Out

The regal design of EPIC’s packaging pulls its weight, reflecting a superior, distinct product. The realistic Audubon-esque illustration is a nice stylized packaging design approach without being overwhelming.
Takeaway: Don’t just conform to what other brands are doing. Find your own identity and own it.

EPIC bar makes their snack bar packaging design stand out from competitors.

A solid product and well-designed packaging sets a brand up for success  and provides a foundation that can inform the bigger marketing picture. The above recommendations are by no means a checklist. It’s not about trying to do everything, but instead using these as a framework to identify what sets a brand or product apart. And from there, picking and choosing the elements that feel the most authentic, and designing packaging around that.

If you want a partner that can help your brand home in on how to best resonate with your target audience — from a strategy and branding perspective to design and content creation — don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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November 20, 2020
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