Snacking as we know it will evolve, driven by an unruly consumer desire to try new and exciting concepts and companies must buck up and innovate to profit, says a healthy foods analyst.
The ‘snackification of everything’ will be an important global trend shaping 2014’s food landscape, according to New Nutrition Business, along with slow energy and weight wellness, among others.
This trend will, of course, impact traditional snack makers – and companies need to react fast, said healthy foods consultant and director at New Nutrition Business Julian Mellentin.
“When people look for snacks, they don’t just think of bars – people are actually increasingly open to experimenting in snacks in a way they aren’t ready to in other food groups,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“People are looking for something that tastes different – a bit of excitement and something that’s a bit of a novelty.”
Convenient permission to indulge to remain core
'The snackification of everything is by no means a saturated trend – there is scope for reinventions'
Convenience has always been a strong driver in snacking and this will continue, said Mellentin. Permission to indulge is also important among consumers, he added.
“Take popped chips, for example - half the fat, half the calories but at the end of the day it’s a potato chip. The primary message is indulgent but below that is a secondary message – that it’s less bad for you.”
It’s about taking an ingredient – preferably with a health halo – and putting it into a form where people can consume it easily, without feeling guilty, he said.
“The snackification of everything is by no means a saturated trend – there is scope for reinventions.”
Snack makers can indeed profit from this trend, Mellentin said. “If you have an established snacks brand, the smart thing to do is to continue to look after your traditional lines, but also innovate and develop new products under that brand… For the long-term, you have to go into new areas.”
When yogurt and grains collide
2014 will be a year of product collision in the snacks sector, he said, with grains and fruit used in combination with dairy ingredients in a semi-liquid form.
Pouch formats also have great potential, and there will likely be plenty of innovation in this product format, he said.
“The successes will come from businesses with excellent product development and good market execution.”