Fortifying products with everything from proteins to vitamins may work in beverage, dairy, cereal and bread sectors: but the concept does not appear to have the same appeal in snacks.
Rather, analysts suggest manufacturers should keep their eye on natural ingredients – such as fruit and vegetables - and low fat and low salt options.
Fortification: not a stronghold
Vitamin fortification of cereals has been standard for some time, while protein and fiber fortification in bread is gaining ground.
In the beverage aisle, consumers are lapping up enriched drinks or those with functional benefits. Novel beverages – such as vitamin waters, energy drinks and novel juices - are often packed with extra vitamins to draw in health conscious consumers. Others claim to help boost attributes from beauty to brains.
And with consumers so concerned with health and wellbeing, isn’t any product with pumped up nutrition going to be a hit with consumers? Or will snacks always be seen as unhealthy?
Lauren Bandy, senior nutrition analyst, Euromonitor International, said the reasons consumers eat snacks are different to other sectors.
“In bread, there’s a lot of innovation with fortification, added calcium and vitamin D, omega three and six,” she said. “But if you go to a cake or a pastry, why are people buying it? It’s not a staple, it’s an indulgence.
“I’m not sure there is consumer demand [for fortification]. People aren’t picking up crisps and thinking: ‘I wish these had more vitamin C’.
“People want bakery and snacks to taste good, a few minutes of indulgence.
“They’re not thinking about their allowance of vitamin C or vitamin D.”
The bakery and snacks sector faces bigger challenges than its beverage and dairy counterparts when it comes to fortification, Bandy said, with many more factors to consider.
“With drinks, it’s just so easy to formulate. The basic ingredients are 90% water, it’s so much easier to innovate.
“Bakery, it’s harder [to formulate] to start with. It impacts texture, how things rise, colour, the browning effect.”
Egg white chips, lentil chips and vegetable crisps
But consumers certainly don’t want to munch on unhealthy snacks. They are looking for a better health profile – reduced fat or salt, for example – or products made from better ingredients.
Tanvi Savara, food analyst, Datamonitor Consumer, said, “Avoidance-related health claims have been a stronger priority for snack consumers: for example, free-from additives, no MSG, and low calorie products.
“Consumers will look for positive nutrition from natural sources like fruits and vegetables. So vegetable or fruit-based snacks will be a more common occurrence in the category than products that emphasize specific nutrients like vitamin A.
“Including ancient grains such as quinoa in formulation provides another route for brands to implicitly highlight the health benefits of a snack, without explicitly stating them on-pack.”
Fruit powders can also be incorporated into extruded snacks to improve the nutritional profile – such as increased fiber and lower fat and salt levels.
“There are a lot of NPD launching healthier alternatives, which is definitely a good thing,” said Euromonitor’s Bandy.
Aside from the multitude of low fat and low salt options, products are turning to other ingredients for a better nutritional profile, she added. For example, there are egg white chips (Ips uses egg whites to lower fat and boost protein), and lentil chips (Simply 7’s lentil chips claim to have 40% less fat than potato chips).
Tyrrells offers vegetable crisps/chips, apple crisps, and ‘swanky veg’ ranges.