Consumers are explicitly asking for more ‘clean’ snack products, which leaves a wide open gap for producers, especially in Europe.
According to GNT Group, the global provider of Colouring Foods, the European snacks market is currently worth more than €14bn ($15.4bn) – and counting. However, manufacturers must take cognisance of consumer demands, otherwise they might see a drop in sales as buyers look elsewhere, or more innovative companies fill the demand.
Market wide open for innovators
A recent GNT Group survey revealed that, while some producers are already rethinking their recipes and switching to alternatives, what is available on the market right now doesn’t seem to be enough.
The company conducted an online survey in July across 5,000 people aged 18-65 living in five European countries.
Topping the list of purchasing pull was brand name (48%) and price (41%), followed closely by the importance of natural ingredients (36%). This came out ahead of fat (34%), calorie content (27%) and organic status (11%).
“The added value of natural ingredients is something manufacturers should increasingly take into account. Consumers expect the absence of additives, even in foods that aren’t particularly associated with naturalness,” said Dr Hendrik Hoeck, MD of GNT Group.
Willing to pay more for no additives
Although snacks, like crisps (potato chips), are not considered the healthiest kind of snack to eat, almost 45% of the respondents said they would be prepared to pay more for salty snacks that are free from artificial colors. This was echoed by the number who would be willing to pay more for snacks free from artificial flavorings and preservatives.
Consumers are particularly alert with regard to colorants, often used to give snacks red, orange, or yellow shades in order to trigger certain expectations of how a product will taste. But while appearance seems to be a decisive factor to Europeans when buying snacks, 47% of them say they avoid products containing additive colors as much as possible.
A popular alternative is colorants made from fruit and vegetables. In fact, nearly two thirds of European consumers believe it should become standard within the food industry to color products only with these natural alternatives.