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Healthy super snacking in fine fettle, reports Innova

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Gill Hyslop

By Gill Hyslop+


Consumers want all things natural, earthy, unaffected and unpretentious when it comes to snacking. Pic: ©iStock/AlexPro9500
Consumers want all things natural, earthy, unaffected and unpretentious when it comes to snacking. Pic: ©iStock/AlexPro9500

‘Sugar and spice and all things nice’ are quickly being usurped by free from, clean labeling, GMO-free and fiber (there’s something new for lyricists to play around with…).

According to the latest tracking activity recorded by Innova Market Insights, health was the biggest buzzword when it came to NPDs in the snacking world in 2016.

In fact, the knowledge solutions provider reported nearly half of launches tracked in the 12 months to the end of September 2016 were positioned on a health platform of some kind, rising to more than 85% in North America.

Consumers want all things natural, earthy, unaffected and unpretentious. More than a quarter of launches in the same time period used a ‘natural’, ‘no additives’ or ‘no preservatives’ positioning, rising to more than 36% if organic claims were also included, it added.

The highs and lows

So, it’s not surprising to note that interest in GMO-free claims has also risen sharply, used on about 8% of global launches compared to 3.5% five years ago. North America led the charge, with 38% of launches claiming to be non-GMO, up from 12% five years previously.

More than 11% of NPDs globally launched in the 12 months to September 2016 featured a high fiber content, another big plus among consumers, reported the Netherlands-based market research company.

And, sugar is firmly rooting itself on the not-so-friendly list. Over 10% of all global launches in the same time period touted a ‘low sugar’, ‘no added sugar’ or ‘sugar free’ claim.

It’s all in the fruit

Fruit’s intrinsically healthy air boosted the growth of the fruit-based snacks sub category, more than doubling it from 8% to nearly 18% in the past five years.

This expansion has pushed it into the third spot of the overall snacks category, after savory/salty snacks and snack nuts/seeds.

According to Lu Ann Williams, director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, the fruit-based snacks market has become highly diversified and covers a number of categories, but is essentially led by dried snacking fruit, fruit bars and processed fruit snacks.

“There is ongoing activity in emphasizing the snack positioning of fruit products, with more user- friendly packaging such as resealable stand-up pouches, and small pots and trays, making them more suitable for anytime snacking. There has also been growth in the availability of multi-packs of individual snacks,” she commented.

It is a plane? No, it’s superfruit!

Mixed nut and seed packs or trail mixes are still tops for a grab-and-go nutritious snack.

Superfruits have had a particular influence in this sub category, featuring more strongly across the board from popular choices, like cranberries, to the lesser well-knowns, like goji and açai.

Other value-add ingredients and flavorings included indulgent treats like chocolate pieces; wholesome additions such as yogurt coatings; and trendy options, like dried coconut shavings.

All in all, a bundle of health and a great way to move forward in 2017.

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