In March this year, supplier Snyder’s-Lance presented a new cracker to retailers to cater for the nearly one in three American adults who want to cut down on gluten or go gluten-free. The company - currently poised to acquire Kettle owner Diamond Foods - described it as world’s first gluten-free sandwich cracker, adding it was designed to provide consumers with ‘on-the-go fuel for the day’.
With close to 44 million in the US and a combined spending power of around $1.1 trillion, Millennials are a consumer group snack makers must not miss out on, said Euromonitor International in April. Millennials – aged roughly between 20 and 34 – were a key buzzword in consumer packaged goods “for a good reason”, added Euromonitor senior analyst Jared Koerten.
Although cereal sales in the US, UK, Canada and Australia accounted for just a quarter of Kellogg’s sales last year versus 50% in 2000, the company maintained the category was still important. In February, it revealed plans to launch the Kellogg’s Origins range of cereals, mueslis and granolas that promised no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors, but instead whole grains and fiber in a short ingredients list you can understand.
PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay launched Doritos Roulette tortilla chips onto the US market this spring. Each bag of Doritos Roulette contains mostly Doritos nacho cheese flavored chips, with the “roulette” element coming from from the occasional super-spicy chip that looks the same as all the others. The product, which was introduced in Mexico in 2012, also rolled out to the UK this year.
Kellogg-owned organic cereal brand Kashi launched ‘Overnight Muesli’ and ‘Organic Promise Sweet Potato Sunshine’ cereal this summer as part of a wider NPD strategy focused on health and sustainability. Kashi’s muesli is sold in a cup format enabling consumers to pour liquid directly into it. “We’re on a mission to transform health through plant-based foods,” said CEO David Denholm.
Earlier this year, Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) - the joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé - added oats to the Cheerios recipe and slashed the sugar content in the cereal to 1.4 g per 30 g serving, down from 6.2 g in regular Cheerios. The move was praised by David Jago, director of innovation at Mintel, who said the timing was 'absolutely right'.
Despite a surge in popularity for gluten-free (GF) products, they are no healthier than their glutenous counterparts, according to research announced by The George Institute for Global Health this summer. The medical research organization analyzed the nutritional content of a “wide range” of GF and non-GF products in Australian supermarkets and found "consumption of GF products is unlikely to confer health benefits, unless there is clear evidence of coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or allergy to gluten-containing grains”.
In October, Puratos CEO Daniel Malcorps told the 2015 Puratos Taste Tomorrow event that: “We believe that the future of bread is the past of bread; and the future is in sourdough." He added that sourdough had often been neglected by the industry due to the length of time it would take to ferment and manufacture at scale. Now, there are other ways to boost sourdough’s productivity in manufacturing, he said, adding it should be used to help improve quality and creativity.
Frito-Lay developed a method to puff nuts and legumes for enhanced-texture snacks. In an international patent filing published this summer, the snack supplier said there was a need to“provide enhanced changes to nuts and legumes which are attractive to the consumer”. Frito-Lay outlined a two-step method that involves hydrating the nut or legume ahead of gun puffing or high-temperature dehydration. The process, it said, could be used on a variety of nuts and legumes, including peanuts, cashews, almonds, beans and chickpeas.
In a webinar this summer, Datamonitor Consumer said there were a number of important, emerging trends that manufacturers should innovate into. These included the rise of ethnic snacks; home snacking; recognizable ingredients; and 'sensory snacks'. Gluten-free would also continue to be an important trend, said the research firm's innovation insights director, Tom Vierhile: "Poor gluten. It really needs a PR agency to help out."