Counterintuitive? Healthy snack reformulation claims are decreasing, Mintel

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Sodium and fat reduction in snacks is covert, but this could be opening industry up to increased backlash, says Mintel
Sodium and fat reduction in snacks is covert, but this could be opening industry up to increased backlash, says Mintel

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Claims like low sodium, low fat and low calorie on snacks are decreasing which seems counterintuitive given action is being taken by manufacturers, said the director of innovation and insights at Mintel.

Speaking to at Snackex 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden, David Jago said in the podcast above that such ‘better for you’ claims were being made less and less on snack pack.

“It sounds counterintuitive but if we look at new product launches over the last several years, the percentage of products that are labeled as low fat and low sodium and so on, has actually gone down not up in all the major European markets,” ​Jago said.

He said there is a “huge amount”​ of pressure on industry from governments and health lobbies to reformulate snacks but the problem is that consumers are not necessarily motivated to buy such products. “They may perceive a reduced taste or quality of product,”​ he said.

Covert action could prompt problems…

Snack makers, including private label, are working to reduce sodium and fat levels in products, Jago said but “it’s very much about covert reduction rather than overt reduction”.

“That’s a pretty big challenge for the snacks industry because they can be seen to not be taking action whereas in actual fact they are taking action but a little bit under the radar,”​ he said.

Jago said the solution for snack makers is to slowly and incrementally reduce sodium and then communicate to consumers once levels are significantly lowered.

With fat, he said things are a little simpler because manufacturers have the option of baked not fried.

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