The brand, recognized for its sauces, broths and seasonings, is launching seven rice and pasta options for people returning to the office who often skip lunch in favor of an “empty” snack.

Unilever brings Knorr into portable cups to attract working consumers

Courtesy of Unilever

Dive Brief:

  • Knorr is expanding into microwaveable cups as the Unilever-owned product aims to attract more working consumers who are too busy to grab lunch.
  • Knorr Rice Cups come in four flavors: Three Cheese Mushroom Risotto, Chicken Flavored Fried Rice, Garden Tomato Risotto and Fajita Rice. Its Pasta line also has three options available — Teriyaki Noodles, Spicy Korean-Style BBQ and Pad Thai. The offerings can be microwaved in 2.5 minutes or less.
  • The Knorr cups are the latest effort by a food brand to increase the usage occasions of its product through packaging like bowls or cups to make them portable and convenient for on-the-go individuals.

Dive Insight:

Knorr cited data from Ezcater that found U.S. professionals are 40% more likely to never stop for lunch than they were previously. The result is skipped meals and all-day “empty” snacking.

To give workers a convenient meal during their busy work days, Knorr is launching its Cups line which has up to 9 grams of protein per serving and real vegetables. The product’s launch aligns with many young professionals returning to the office — some for the first time in their careers. 

“Knorr has a longstanding belief that everyone should be able to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals (not just munchies!) they can feel good about,» Gina Kiroff, chief marketing officer with Knorr North America, said in a statement. “We hope to remind people everywhere that a busy schedule does not have to come at the expense of a satisfying lunch — or any meal for that matter.”

The nearly two-century-old Knorr has carved out a presence, largely at home, with its boullion and rice and pasta dishes that people can incorporate into other items or turn into a side. 

But one area missing for Knorr was cups that give it a deeper presence outside the home, particularly with younger individuals. Consumers are in a hurry and many don’t have significant time to prepare one of Knorr’s other items or sit down for a larger meal. The Knorr Cups also address shopper interest in foods that contain protein or vegetables.

Cups have proven to be a popular packaging option for food manufacturers. While breakfast offerings like oatmeal have been tied to the format for years, CPG companies increasingly are taking existing brands and bringing them to segment.

Kraft Heinz brought Ore-Ida, for example, into breakfast with “Just Crack an Egg.” The product contains diced vegetables, breakfast meat, cheese and potatoes, will be sold in the refrigerated section next to the eggs — which is the only ingredient that needs to be added to the product. And last year, Idahoan launched Potato Shreds that can be prepared in the microwave in a few minutes. Shreds is designed as an on-the-go snack.

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