Snack pellets: how can manufacturers accelerate US market growth?

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

The global snack pellets market is worth $5.5bn. Photo: iStock - Marzia Giacobbe
The global snack pellets market is worth $5.5bn. Photo: iStock - Marzia Giacobbe

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Increased innovation and better-for-you reformulation have been tipped as ways to boost growth in the US snack pellets market.

Although the global snacks pellet market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6% between now and 2020, US growth would be restrained by the maturity of the American market, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets, which added the US had lagged behind its European counterparts in new product development.

MarketsandMarkets research analyst Kirti Bansod pointed out that Liven SA (Spain) and Limagrain Cereales Ingredients (France) were among European businesses had launched new shapes, sizes and flavors of pellets over the past five years.

Acrylamide concerns

Concerns over acrylamide could also prevent some health-conscious US consumers purchasing products derived from snack pellets, added Bansod, who said this could be mitigated by using enzymes to reduce the amount of acrylamide in fried foods.

Bansod said Danish biotech business Novozymes had developed one such enzyme that can reduce acrylamide content.

What are snack pellets?

Snack pellets are high-density and expandable intermediate products that are manufactured through extrusion using raw materials such as potato, corn, tapioca, rice, legumes and other cereals and vegetables.

They are typically sold onto snack manufacturers who process them using different methods such as frying or hot air baking, and add flavor ingredients to create ready-to-eat snacks.

Development of healthy pellets with high nutritional content and hot air baking processes could help manufacturers regain the popularity of snack pellets as better-for-you products​,” she added.

Raw material price volatility

MarketsandMarkets also suggested US snack pellets producers would be impacted by price volatility of raw materials such as vegetables, tapioca and rice, that are mainly imported from countries including Canada, Mexico, China, Argentina and India.

The economic, political, or environmental instabilities in any of these countries may affect the supply of raw materials and may affect the prices​,” said Bansod.

But emerging markets also presented an opportunity to US producers, with growth in the global snack pellets market set to be driven by countries including Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, India and China, according to the report.

Combined consumption of snack pellets in India and China is estimated to outpace the US in the next ten years​,” said Bansod, adding that some US producers were tapping growth in these countries through exports.

Key regional players 

The US snack pellets industry is primarily composed of small-scale business and a few key regional players including JR Short Milling Company, Balanced Foods Inc and Cornfields Inc, according to MarketsandMarkets.

For more information on the report - Snack Pellets Market by Type, Form, Equipment & by Region: Global Forecasts to 2020 - please click here​.

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