Functional bars and snacks have been rising in popularity in recent years, but are now expected to see a trajectory rise in demand, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Consumers are actively seeking out treats that not only offer comfort and indulgence, but also bring functional properties to the table to boost their immunities.
Premium products, high-quality nutrient profiles and vegan recipes, in particular, are all also driving demand for functional bars and today, the European bar market is fairly well saturated.
With this in mind, SternLife has development two new bar concepts using its state-of-the-art technologies and broad range of ingredients.
“Of course, saturated markets are more challenging in terms of successful product launches, but are by no means unmanageable. To stand out from the crowd, innovation and USPs are a must,” said Lüder Holsten, product manager at SternLife.
“Our special focus is on those segments that still offer good positioning opportunities. There is definitely space for improvement when it comes to the existing range of vegan protein bars. This has inspired us to develop the Vegan Deluxe concept.”
The offering blends taste – a cookie base with caramel crème – with a high-quality nutrient profile to capitalise on the vegan megatrend. The prototype bar delivers 25% of valuable plant proteins from pea, soy and rice; as well as 13% of saturating dietary fibres, and less than 1% sugar.
Indulgence is also the focus of the second bar concept. Grand Deluxe is an innovation that allows for nearly one-quarter (22%) of the bar to consist of filling – a novelty in the conventional protein bar segment – made possible by SternLife’s unique technology.
“Our Grand Deluxe concept is the best example of a new generation of protein bars. Never before has there been so much filling in an industrially produced functional bar,” added Holsten.
Tailored for a specific crowd
SternLife is also able to customise the sensory, nutritional and functional properties of the two concepts according to the snack producer’s desired positioning and target groups using its comprehensive portfolio of proteins, dietary fibres and other ingredients, as well as fillings, toppings, inclusions and chocolate coatings.
In addition, customers benefit from the company’s application-specific competence.
Vegan bars, for instance, are particularly challenging from a sensory perspective, as their texture and taste differ substantially from milk- and whey-based counterparts. For the Vegan Deluxe prototype, SternLife’s specialists combined the raw materials in a novel ways, creating a pleasant taste profile without the off-flavours often found in purely plant-based recipes. A crunchy peanut topping adds texture.
SternLife’s functional food experts also have access to the pooled skills of 11 specialist companies and some 100 R&D experts in the Stern Technology Centre, with its broad range of applications technology.
Whether creating functional bars aimed at athletes; for consumers looking to lose weight; for a more senior crowd; or for those who are just looking to boost their holistic health, SternLife provides snack producers with the complete package – from conception to formulation, development and production – to create offerings that will stand out in a crowded marketplace.