Top 5 Snacking Trends to Watch

2021 SNACKING REPORT

 

Snacking isn’t what it used to be. For many consumers, the days of mindless eating are dwindling as the mindfulness phenomenon lands firmly on people’s plates.

As consumer preferences shift, food producers need to make snacks for informed and educated consumers, not just the hungry ones.

In fact, snacking habits have shifted. Where it was once defined as a small amount of food between meals, a recent study found that 92% of Gen Z-ers and Millennials replace at least one meal a week with a snack and that 7% don’t eat traditional meals anymore (relying on snacks instead).

As the how, the what, the why, and (thanks to the pandemic) the where of snacking evolves, it’s crucial for food producers to remain on top of the trends that are shaping the snacking landscape in homes, kitchens, and grocery stores globally.

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here are a few snacking trends to note:

1. MAKE AT-HOME SNACKS LAST LONGER

“Snacking on the go is turning into snacking at home,” is how David Walsh, SNAC International VP of membership and communications, frames it.

With lockdown gripping much of the world in 2020, the home became many people’s permanent office. As a result, office snacking has gone from a question of what people have on their desks to what they have in their cupboards.

This means that consumers are not only seeking to ensure that their at-home snacking provides alternatives to processed, artificial foods, but also that they have a keener eye on buying enough to last—particularly given many people’s increased wariness of going to the grocery store.

A study by the market research company IRI found that the 10-ounce to 16-ounce package size category has seen the largest increase in consumer demand, growing 87% and taking market share from the smaller 4.5 to 8-ounce package category.

Key takeaway: Long-lasting, dried, and good-for-you snacks are well-positioned to meet consumer desire for at home snacking.

 

Image: REV™ dried white cheddar snack. Single-ingredient, 100% cheese.

2. EAT FROM THE EARTH AND FOR THE EARTH

With the 29% increase in the sales of plant-based food over the past two years, the rise of environmentally-conscious snacking is showing no signs of slowing.

“The plant-based movement ties into a number of trending consumer priorities, including health protection, environmental stewardship, and ethically-driven eating,” says Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH, who is in private practice in New York City and Los Angeles.

In fact, environmental stewardship has now become a primary concern for many consumers, 82% of who, according to one study, are prepared to pay more for snacks containing sustainably produced ingredients—46% would pay 5% more and 17% would pay over 10% more.

Key takeaway: Healthy, environmentally friendly replacements, such as alternative flours, chickpea cereal, vegetable snacks, fruit chips, etc. will give consumers substitutes for familiar products they love.

 

Image: REV™ dried spinach greens.

3. ENJOY PURE INDULGENCE FOR EXTRA COMFORT

No matter how much snacking evolves or how intentional people are about eating well, there will always be a draw to pure indulgence. The stresses of the past year, and the continued stress of the pandemic have seen a surge in people self-reporting as comfort/stress eaters.

One study by Delifrance found that 82% of consumers who are undecided on what to snack eat/buy are influenced by the level of indulgence the snack represents and that ‘consumers look for treats in uncertain times.’ In a stressful world people are seeking ways to give themselves everyday treats when indulgent restaurant and cafe experiences aren’t readily available.

Key takeaway: Consumers want at-home luxuries that bring them comfort everyday, snacks that feel and taste indulgent.

 

Image: REV™ dried glazed donuts. Natural, chewy-like texture and shelf-stable for up to 1 year.

4. TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD THROUGH NEW FLAVOURS

Due to the unavailability of recreational travel and restaurant experiences, people’s homes are now the limiting factor of new experiences.

As a result, and with the influence of social media offering up idealized at-home experiences, there’s a growing number of people finding adventure in flavours. “We’re seeing growing popularity toward international flavors, savory, spicy,
smokey, and umami flavors – or a combination of these flavor profiles with traditionally sweet products, like sea salt caramels or smoked almond toffee,” says Mark Zoske, CEO of SaltWorks.

Or as David Walsh puts it: “Globalization in flavors is important, consumers may seek snacks to fill the desires they would normally get at restaurants.” With so much of everyday life lacking surprise or intrigue, food is the gateway to the global experiences consumers have grown accustomed to.

Key takeaway: Bold, exciting flavours and combinations in snacks is the little kick of excitement that curious consumers are looking for.

 

Image: REV™ Dried, Smoked Tempeh Chips

5. GO WITH YOUR GUT (AND LOOK AFTER IT)

Digestive health has become a pre-eminent concern for consumers, with 46% of Americans considering digestive health a personal goal according to a study by the IFIC. Which is hardly surprising when you consider that 80% of our immune system’s effectiveness is linked to gut health.

Alongside yogurt-based drinks like kefir, consumers are looking for heartier, more filling snacks that they can eat on the go and will keep them satiated between meals or serve as a light meal. This is opening up opportunities for better-for-you snacks that improve gut health and keep for longer than refrigerated goods.

Key takeaway: Consumers are craving hearty snacks that boost their immune system during a time when conversations around viruses and illnesses are commonplace. Functional foods with anti-oxidants, probiotics and clean-labels are ideal.

 

Image: REV™ dried Kefir puff.

adapt to changing snack habits

Snacking is becoming more important for people as many of the habits around what, when, how, and why we eat change.

For an increasing population of health and environmentally conscious consumers snacking is about how they see the world, rather than a mindless activity.

For our Product Development team at Enwave that makes the world of snacking a place of endless opportunities.

TRANSFORM BETTER-FOR-YOU PRODUCTS INTO SHELF-STABLE SNACKS

If you’re interested in discussing how to turn one of your own recipes into a shelf-ready-snack, tell us about your project to begin a conversation with one of our REV™ drying experts and find new ways to feed hungry consumers.

REV™ technology allows CPG companies to innovate single-ingredient, clean-label, ‘better-for-you’ snacks that have superior taste, colour, and nutrition.

View EnWave’s Product Development services here.