During Covid, there has been less volume but an uplift in nutritional interest, according to Griffith Foods.
“Consumers also want an ingredient declaration that is easy to read, and they recognise and understand – clarity is key. In some countries like France, we see QR code scanning usage as an opportunity as they offer more transparency on product ingredients and origin,” the company told BakeryandSnacks.
It added consumers are increasingly more educated and more discerning in their choices, often reading the Traffic Light or Nutriscore before purchase.
“The snacks market remained stable and we saw that Covid-19 had less impact on snacking behaviour.”
Helping people to get through the day
Overall, year-on-year sector growth has not been impacted that much, growing at 3% like for like.
“Clearly, consumers have focused even more on health and better-for-you snacks that are natural and healthier, while taste remains key. That said, in these challenging times, any snack can be used as a comforter to help people get through the day.”
Last year, Griffith celebrated 100 years as ‘the product development and service partner of choice’ for some of Europe's biggest snack brands, noting its success is built on a foundation of ‘creating better together’ and the ability to optimise taste, texture, and nutrition to specific requirements.
“We have grown more than the sector, which under these challenging market conditions, is impressive. Overall, we are fortunate that we could deliver full orders of seasonings and coatings to our customers, but put that down to being small enough to quickly adapt but large enough to be an important player.”
The company has heavily relied on its global sustainability sourcing programme and maximising its production network to manage its supply chain more effectively.
“That efficiency has helped support logistics and retain our high standards of service.”
The year past
Griffith continued to deliver in full throughout 2020 to ensure consumers kept on snacking.
“As part of our contingency plans, we maximised our European production network, allowing us to stay quite local and monitor our immediate supply chain effectively, ensuring orders deliver.
“Also, our local teams in customer service, quality and product information have gone the extra mile by adopting a flexible work attitude to keep our customers informed and supported.
“Snacking can be a moment of relief and relaxation for many consumers and scientific research has now shown that as an activity healthy snacking is calming, even helpful to wellbeing. Some customers have seen a massive uptick in sales for products like rice cakes, so we’ve seen an increase in orders as demand rises.”
Last year, snack manufacturers concentrated on filling production lines with existing products and were perhaps slightly more reluctant to launch new ones, thanks to the pandemic. However, going forward, Griffith says consumers are again ready to discover new experiences.
“I’m optimistic as we bring clear evidence to the table explaining consumer insights and sensory science so we remain ready and proactive for what may be a new chapter for our new and existing customers.”
Delicious & Nutritious
Griffith is transitioning into a Delicious & Nutritious business, but what does this mean from a snacks point of view?
“Our portfolio in seasonings, coatings and functionals can add value in different ways but as business, we are focusing on product leadership, bringing forward new, delicious and nutritious concepts to market, and locking in more nutrition.”
The company has designed four strategic pillars within its Health and Nutrition strategy that it can translate into innovations, including reduction, fortification, elimination and clean label.
“With our Innovations in Snacks, we are able to launch new concepts that fit in those Health & Nutrition pillars.”
A case in point is the company’s success with Sodium Flex, an agile toolbox that reduces sodium – from a 25% reduction right up to no added sodium – in a snack seasoning or coating with minimal compromise on taste. The company has also introduced its Veggie Coated Nuts now also suitable for a fryer application.
“We noticed that not all customers have ovens, so we’ve adapted the formula to make it suitable for fryers. That way, consumers can enjoy the bright natural colours of veggie coatings, the great taste and that signature crunch.”
Moreover, the high in fibre characteristic makes on pack claims possible, while the nuts are also gluten free and vegan as well – all important claims for consumers.
"We are big fans of Green Banana Flour – it’s an incredible ingredient to work with in snack seasonings. The naturally occurring potassium levels boost taste perception and mouthfeel while no additional sodium is needed. It is high in fibre, gluten free, mild in smell and taste and a great way to start the creative process. It is also sustainably sourced by reducing land and food waste."
What are the wider trends impacting Griffth’s product focus?
“We constantly ask ourselves how we can take the next step forward to lead the market and prepare our customers for the future,” the company told this site.
“We help snack customers to make an on-pack claim that can improve their nutritional labelling system and make sure that the snack has a great taste. Healthier snacks with a delicious taste can go hand in hand.
“With Veggie Coated Nuts, we include vegetable powders in a nut coating, but we can also use it on other snack bases like chickpeas, lentils, tortillas. We are also currently working on veggie coatings formulas for other snack substrates like rice cakes, tortillas and some crisp ranges.
“Clean label is more about making a product use as few ingredients as possible and making sure those ingredients are items that consumers recognise and think of as wholesome.”
Griffith’s oven variant of its Vegetable Coated Nuts achieves a Nutri-score C for coated peanuts, however, it believes that working with peas or chickpeas, for example, it can work towards a Nutri-score A.
The company sees surprising ingredients, exciting flavour combinations and nutritional snacks as the big themes for 2021.
“Snacks for different moments in a day to enjoy, to nourish, and to share. We also believe that snacks should serve a purpose – using sustainably sourced ingredients that support local communities. That health and product transparency will become even more important in 2021. Consumers want to have a healthier lifestyle so healthier snacks without compromise on taste make sense. Provenance and localism will continue to see trend gains.”
2021 is going to be a big year for Griffith, which has several innovative roll outs planned for the year. It will also be driving further awareness in the sector about Sodium Flex and its salt capabilities, as this can have a significant impact on nutritional labelling systems and improve clarity.