Forecasters predict top trends for next year’s snacking

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Snacking on sardines is predicted to be a big trend in 2017. Pic: ©iStock/Kuvona
Snacking on sardines is predicted to be a big trend in 2017. Pic: ©iStock/Kuvona

Related tags Food Nutrition Glutamic acid

Consumers worldwide are more likely to choose nutritious, natural products over high-calorie food items next year, according to 2017 trend reports from two organizations.

It’s time for the sardine to make a comeback, stated Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) in its recently released Culinary Trends 2017 report. Extremely popular in the US in the 20th​ century, the canned variety full of the umami flavorings that’s in high demand these days.

Consumers are also becoming more aware of the benefits these little fish offer, including being low in calories, high in omega 3s and proteins. 

According to SRG, other ingredients expected to move to the snacking forefront will be chickpeas, legumes and turmeric. Again, these options give consumers healthy and natural perceptions.

Cleaner, simpler snacking

This is in line with a recent Mintel survey​ that suggests 36% of consumers believe it’s better to nosh on small snacks throughout the day rather than eat large, regular meals.

Snacking is taking on a whole new appearance as a meal replacer and food producers are bringing out offerings that feature cleaner, simpler ingredients that are high protein, gluten- and GMO- free, and contain no added monosodium glutamate (MSG) or preservatives.

Minnie me

Kids are the biggest influencers when it comes to purchasing snacks, found Mintel’s research, so parents are becoming more aware of what they’re putting into their children’s – and their own – mouths.

Almost 35% of adults eat what their kids eat, and many of them choose something savory over sweet. Mintel’s research found 77% of parents buy salty snacks rather than sweeter stuff for their offspring.

Globally, the savory snacks sector saw a renewed growth of 18% from 2014-2015. Spicy still lures, with 30% of snackers saying this is what would prompt them to try something new.

This, stated Mintel, shows that continued innovation focussed on new and different savory flavours will keep consumers coming back – and even attract a whole new audience.

Sharp vinegar and smoky notes are among the most demanded flavours, as are old favourites like pizza and barbecue.

Mintel also found on-the-go packaging, such as re-sealable and single-serve formats, are in high demand.

Have your cake and eat it

But, while the emphasis next year is on health, this doesn’t mean a goodbye to all things indulgent.

In the year ahead, SRG forecasters see more people eating cake for breakfast, and Mintel predicts that a chocolate at bedtime will be seen to be the perfect way to relieve the day’s tension.

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