When did snacks start replacing traditional meals? Now that the health and quality options match the convenience factor, snacking trends are off the charts for 2020.
A 2017 report by Nielsen found the snacking business had grown globally to $3.4B. Technomic’s 2018 Snacking Occasion report found that 34% more consumers were making time for healthy snacks in their day than they were two years ago. And the cause and effect goes deeper than that – according to the State of Snacking: 2019 Global Consumer Snacking Trends Study from Mondelēz International – 71% of snackers consider it “time to connect with themselves” and 53% are more excited about their upcoming snack than their meal.
This trend is a direct result of an always on-the-go consumer who places the convenience of a snack above all else, but still is careful to prioritize health and taste when considering snack options. In fact, the State of Snacking study revealed that consumers are most interested in freshness (43%), low sugar (36%) and low fat (31%) when choosing their snack.
At Nikken Foods, we dug a bit deeper to uncover 5 powerful snack trends that are influencing consumer behavior this year.
The 5 Powerful Snack Trends of 2020
With snacks replacing meals for as many as 80% of consumers according to Technomic, it needs to be substantial enough to keep the snacker going throughout the day. Whether it’s a sweet or savory snack (or sweet and savory flavor combination), chances are it’s packing higher levels of protein than ever before as the demand for filling, muscle-building/repairing protein is driving manufacturers to consider more sources for this trending snack ingredient. From energy bars to dairy products to jerky, snacks that trade carbs and fat for protein are helping consumers lose weight without losing flavor.
Nutritious snacks are on the rise as a result of the demand for truly nutritious ingredients that fill bellies. A Global Pediatric Health report estimates that at least a quarter of your daily energy comes from snacks, and the more popular snacking evolves, the more nutrient-rich the options must become. More consumers are seeking the fruits, vegetables, yogurts and cheeses for their nutrients and by-passing energy-dense, nutrient-poor sugar and carb-based snacks like cookies and chips.
Considered an important element for delivering novelty to a sweet or snack, texture helps improve the overall experience for consumers. In fact, a 2019 Innova Consumer Survey found that 70% of global consumers look for texture to give their food an interesting experience. Similarly, 56% of consumers aged 26-35 actually prefer a snack’s texture to its ingredients. This has led manufactures to prioritize texture when marketing to certain age groups.
Manufacturers must adjust and innovate to keep flavors tasty, sure, but they also must improve the overall health of their snack options to entice consumers. The first thing to go: added sugars. Snacks with natural sugar and calories like fruits and nuts have increased in popularity while sugar-sweetened desserts and beverages are on the decline. Consumers have found that better-for-you snacks like yogurt that remove sugars and add good fats aren’t just healthier, they’re often more filling without all the empty calories from added sugars.
Forbes has previously reported that 63% of millennials seek out plant-based, unprocessed food. And with 70% of millennials preferring snacking to meals according to Mondelez International, it’s no surprise that natural, eco-friendly faux meat has led the charge in snacking reform for 2020. Plant-based meat alternatives are ruling the snack-food aisle with their clean, recognizable ingredient list and have even found their way into the drive thru lane with the Impossible Burger.
Snacks containing these key elements will continue to extend their reach to health-conscious consumers looking to snack responsibly and support their always-moving lifestyle and hunger.
Nikken Foods has a vast array of all-natural powdered ingredients to help the largest multinational food processors and ingredient suppliers in the USA develop tasty, healthy snacks to match public demand. Contact us today to learn more.