Dollar sales of America’s nutrition bar segment grew 8% last year to hit $2bn, according to the US research firm, that also explained the category was being redefined by changing consumer demands.
“The future of energy and recovery foods designed for athletes and others who are physically active appears destined to be dominated by savory flavors and ingredients, including meat,” it said.
Packaged Facts said athletes had long requested energy products that were less sweet than standard bars and manufacturers were now responding.
“…Now that national attention has turned to reducing added sugar in the diet, a new wave of savory products, including bars, gels and meat jerky, are being introduced.”
Small entrepreneurs and regionals
Packaged Facts said new product development in nutrition bars had primarily been driven by small entrepreneurs and regional companies.
Late last year, New York-based Mediterra Nutrition launched a line of savory snack bars, low in sugar with Mediterranean-inspired flavors and more recently start-up Savory Harvest launched its nut-based bars that include kale and cheese.
Nutrition bar major Kind also this month launched savory variants of its Strong & Kind line with Thai sweet chili and roasted Jalapeno flavors, among others.
Packaged Facts said meat as an ingredient in the savory shift was also becoming increasingly popular and such products were widely backed by athletes.
“Behind this growing trend is great awareness among casual sports participants of the importance of consuming protein following exercise to help rebuild muscle.”
Datamonitor Consumer research indicated the meat bar trend started to take off in the US last year with two innovative launches using lamb and beef from Epic and Omnibar.
Ghina Romani, food and drink researcher at Datamonitor Consumer, previously told BakeryandSnacks.com the meat bars took beef jerky to a “new level”.
Beyond taste and nutrition…
David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts, added the savory NPD in nutrition bars was being done with a focus on addressing sustainability concerns along with taste, performance and nutrition.
Companies, he said, were focused on creating natural and organic products; non-GMO and gluten-free bars; and using whole goods including grass-fed, humanely treated animals.