Across the broader food market, health has defined product launches, reformulation and repackaging with fiber-rich baked goods, low-fat yoghurts and better-for-you breakfast options reeling in sales.
But one analyst says that the snack market is a different story.
“Indulgence will trump health every time when it comes to snacking,” Lee Linthicum, head of food research at Euromonitor International, said.
“Snacks and health seem mutually exclusive,” Linthicum told BakeryandSnacks.com.
There is a clear challenge for manufacturers developing healthy snacks, he said.
Women and children first…
Precise consumer targeting is important, he said, and healthy snacks should firstly target women and children.
“Women are more receptive when it comes to health messages in snacks whereas men, if they see a Twinkie, they will just eat it without thinking,” Linthicum said.
“Children is a big target sector for healthy snacks too and there is marketing access too, for example, selling fruit snacks on school grounds is more likely to be accepted and there is a resonance with parents that will appeal,” he said.
Fruit snacks: The convenient alternative
“Fruit snacks are an easy proposition for healthy snacking because they are already naturally sweet,” Linthicum said.
Granola bars, pretzels, popcorn, low-fat extruded snacks, nuts and soy-based snacks are other healthy snack products set to be popular, he said.
Globally the fruit snacks market is estimated to be worth $6.3bn for 2012 and set to surge to $7.5bn by 2017, according to Euromonitor data.
“While this represents only a fraction of the overall snacks market, a growth of more than one billion over the next five years can’t be ignored,” Linthicum said.
However, fruit snacks do not appeal to an impulsive consumer looking for indulgence and so must be promoted on a planned snacking platform, he said.
“If you can’t be as indulgent, you can be as convenient,” he added.
“They should be marketed as on-the-go and suitable in the afternoon as they are bite-sized, convenient and don’t require any utensils. They also provide an energy boost and sugar and vitamin rush,” he said.
Promoting a time of day to consume fruit snacks will aid sales; “they need to be marketed beyond breakfast”.
One example of a successful planned snacking push is Kelloggs’ Elevenses snack bar – promoted to be eaten as a mid-morning snack at 11am, he noted.
For fruit snacks, varied sizes also need to be available in multi-pack form to appeal to adults and children, and re-sealable packaging should be considered, he said.