The evolution of lifestyles, cultural changes and a higher sophistication and awareness among consumers in relation to their diet have had a deep impact in the way we eat. In Europe, many consumers are choosing to snack on something throughout the day, which implies a great opportunity for manufacturers. In this article we will go over the latest snacking trends and the role of nuts in innovation within this segment of the food industry.
Today’s pace of life, characterised by haste and high demands when it comes to work, sports and entertainment, makes snacks the perfect food for many people, since they can be quickly acquired and consumed anywhere, anytime. In fact, 6 out of 10 consumers already prefer to have small bites to eat throughout the day. 1
Today’s most-sought snacks are made out of healthy ingredients, give an energy boost, have an alluring flavour and offer additional health benefits. In this regard, snacks that include nuts in their manufacturing perfectly meet all of these conditions.
What are the snacking trends that are driving change in this industry?
Traditionally, snacks have been associated with artificial products with an excess of fat, sugars and salt. In other words, mostly unhealthy products that could cause overweight and have little nutritional value.
These ideas or prejudices have forced snack brands and manufacturers to radically change their products to adjust them to current consumer tastes and their will to have a healthy, natural diet that is respectful of the environment. Nowadays, the main innovations when it comes to snacks include the search of exotic flavours, vegetable products and high-protein content solutions.
On the other hand, the main trends of the snack industry are based on: the choice of healthy raw materials (fruits, cereals, nuts, etc.), reducing sodium, sugar and fat and adding nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.
However, this turn toward healthier snacks does not mean that consumers will have to give up or sacrifice aspects such as the flavour, texture or aroma of these products. Quite the contrary: the industry is working to find new surprising flavours, where nuts and their derivatives offer all kinds of subtleties, improving the nutritional profile of the product. In fact, these new formulations are increasingly welcome by consumers.
In summary, the predominant trend is for food manufacturers to continue creating healthier snacks that not only taste good, but also satisfy increasingly demanding nutritional requirements.
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Below we list some of the main trends of the snack industry:
1. What’s good for you is good for the planet
A very important factor when it comes to snacks is that consumers are giving more and more importance to knowing the source of the foods and their many ingredients. Clients demand clear, complete and transparent information about where and how they have been grown, and the impact that their production has had on the community and the environment.
2. Brain boosting nootropics
Nowadays, consumers have very high demands and requirements in regard to food, including snacks. For this reason, they look for the composition of these foods –in regard to their type of ingredients and amounts– to help them sleep better and boost their memory and concentration.
Reduced sugar and fats, as well as added vitamins, are some of the characteristics that can turn a snack into a good ally of consumers’ mental capacity. Nuts such as walnuts are major sources of Vitamin E.
3. Snacks with high protein content
The popularity of Paleo and Keto diets in the last few years have generated another snacking trend: the addition of more proteins. When consumers think of proteins, the first thing that comes to mind is meat. But proteins are also pervasive in vegetable snacks, where the addition of nuts with a high protein content, such as peanut, offer that extra boost sought by manufacturers.
The food industry aims to satisfy the demand for new products with a high nutritional value. For that reason, many of the most important snack brands are striving to manufacture products with a high content of proteins, fibres, whole grains and little to no sugar and fats.
4. Digestive health
The digestive health is another trend that is gaining ground. Many consumers are choosing products that offer benefits as a probiotic. This is a market niche that is unquestionably on the rise, and has also piqued the interest of snack manufacturers.
5. Finding the perfect balance between health and indulgence
Manufacturers should also consider that fact that consumers want not only for their appetisers to be healthy, but also pleasing.
An interesting concept here for snack manufacturers is the “adult break” – a break during the daily routine to enjoy a small treat. This is the perfect opportunity for manufacturers to offer consumers something good that also offers them an energy boost to endure the rest of the day.
Another outlook is to encourage nostalgia: childhood appetisers that offer an adult-oriented flavour or a health boost such as a protein bar.
When combined with other ingredients, nuts can surprise consumers during consumption and elicit sensations, memories or highlight flavours.
6. Snack story and personalisation
To meet the demand for healthy, ethical and pleasing snacks, manufacturers need to explain why their appetisers fit the lifestyle and values of the consumers.
“56% of global consumers say that stories around a brand influence their purchase decision”. 2
On the other hand, the growth and evolution of snacks is unstoppable, and the use of cutting-edge technologies in their design and manufacture allows for the creation of even personalised snacks, with nutritional contents tailored to each person, lifestyle and needs.
Personalised diets are expected to be an increasingly sought trend. Thanks to the combination of the latest technology in data analytics, some brands have already started the production of snacks on demand – an innovative food solution that is being welcomed with open arms.
7. Unusual pairings in the search for new sensations
This trend arose because consumers are becoming more adventurous and open to products that mix ingredients, combine different types of foods and mix several flavour profiles.
Hybrid products offer interesting food options, encouraging the exploration of the multiple characteristics of a product with a single purchase and satisfying the health-pleasure combination in the form of on-the-go consumption.
Here we can find the combination of products with sweet or salty tinges, with healthy, texture-rich ingredients such as almonds or peanuts. Among these hybrid combinations we can find almonds with tofu with popcorn and caramel, or nuts mixed with sweet or sour fruits. The possible combinations are limitless.
8. Work from home snack boxes
The rise in teleworking as a result of COVID-19 has led to a highly innovative trend. It involves the preparation of an assortment of boxes with different types of snacks, with a tidy presentation and ready to be delivered to people’s homes to regain strength and make the long, sometimes boring days of teleworking more bearable.
As we could see in this article, the new snacking trends go well with nuts as an ingredient: it is a natural, healthy and nutritious high-protein food that goes well with all kinds of ingredients and allows for a richer product story while offering benefits or properties that are highly tailored to consumers.
Are you looking for a nut provider for your snacks company? You can rely on the raw material offered by Itac Profesional, the B2B brand of the Importaco International Food Group. Contact us for more information about our products and personalisation options.
Want more information about our proucts?
Take a look at our nuts catalogue for the food industry.
1 Fi Europe 2019, Snacks & Confectionary Master Class, presentation by Sara Aguilar, Hand Media International – Sugar and fat: rethinking the principal ingredients for the baking and confectionary industry.pptx
2 Innova Market Insights.Top 10 trends for 2020.