Cargill’s Snack Foods Opportunity Research delved into four key snack categories – Snack Bars, Salty Snacks, Candy and Sweet Baked Goods – to find out how and why consumers were choosing snacks for themselves, as well as for their children.
Good taste and affordability were the most important criteria for choosing a snack, but interestingly, adult consumers placed emphasis on taste and flavour when choosing something for themselves, and on the nutritional value and healthfulness of a snack when choose for their kids.
Respondents showed a fairly equal desire for sweet and savoury snacks, although savoury did inch forward slightly in popularity.
The ‘natural’ perception remained a top priority for all four categories, but particularly so in sweet baked goods. These include snacks with fresh, minimally processed and non-GMO ingredients.
“More consumers are looking for products that offer functional benefits so ingredients like protein and fibre have had great success in bars and other snacks, but the opportunities for the next generation of botanicals and superfoods are just around the corner,” Pam Stauffer, Cargill’s global marketing programs manager, told BakeryandSnacks.
“We see opportunities for snacks that feature ingredients like turmeric, pumpkin seeds and probiotics. That’s why we regularly do these surveys, so we can help brands identify these emerging opportunities in the marketplace.”
In the time of COVID-19
A Cargill spokesperson told us the snacks industry would certainly withstand the ongoing crisis.
“Our industry is resilient, successfully having navigated through crises brought on by nature/the environment, the financial market, tariffs/trade and many other external factors in the past,” she said.
“What we are currently seeing and experiencing is a shift from consumers eating out to consumers eating at home, acquiring their own personal stocks of food and feed.
“Retailers are seeing a surge in demand while foodservice customers find themselves with more product than they need. We are doing everything possible to connect customers together to move the extra product to where it’s needed most, while adapting our manufacturing plants to create a more agile supply system.”
She noted the company is confident in the security and sustainability of the US food system.
“It’s important to note – this is not about a food shortage. We have enough food to feed everyone, but we have to be able to move it – and alter the supply to meet increased grocery/retail and individual demand as food service/restaurant demand lessens.”
Currently, Cargill is operating at maximum capacity and is able to fulfill demand from its customers.
It has opted to have most of its employees work from home to limit the potential spread of the virus, however its plant facility teams are still onsite.
“That is why we have adopted additional health and safety protocols for employees at major production facilities, including temperature testing where possible, cleaning and sanitizing procedures, prohibiting visitors from our facilities, stopping or limiting international and domestic air travel, adopting social distancing practices where possible and offering shift flexibility to keep our major production facilities open.”