Research finds functional snacks for energy, focus and relaxation are increasingly trending with consumers

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Women are more likely than men to snack because of boredom or just to treat themselves. Pic: GettyImages/stock_colors
Women are more likely than men to snack because of boredom or just to treat themselves. Pic: GettyImages/stock_colors

Related tags: Glanbia nutritionals, consumer research, c of a, snacking, Health and wellness, Protein, calories, no sugar added

A new study commissioned by Glanbia Nutritionals that consumer choices have been hugely impacted by the pandemic, and brands need to take note of the ‘new normal’ that is impacting snacking habits.

The survey of over 2,000 UK consumers conducted by Opinion Matters in June 2021 found that 33% of respondents admitted to eating more when others aren’t around, with 49% being more likely to choose a healthy product at home than outside of home (10%) or at work (10%).

Nearly half (49%) of hybrid workers (working both at home and in the office) said they are conscious of what they eat to stay healthy.

Of those working in a hybrid pattern, 25% said they eat more snacks in place of meals, while 31% agreed they’d choose more on-the-go snacks as a result of their working routine.

Topping the charts

However, the health-conscious snackers have different views on what is important depending on their age group:

  • 25% of Gen Zs (16-24 year olds) opt for ‘low in calories’
  • 18% of Millennials (25-34 year olds) prioritise protein-rich healthy snacks
  • 36% of the over 55s look for ‘low’ or ‘no sugar’

Women snackers are more likely to do so for reasons other than nutrition, with 62% admitting to snacking when they are bored. 41% of men and 53% of women use snacks as a reward or to treat themselves.

Stress is another key factor for women, with 46% claiming to use snacks to cope with frustration, compared to just 26% of men. This has been the primary driver for a rise in demand from brands for solutions such as neuro-enhancing adaptogens, with over half of the 25-44 year olds stating they find ingredients with calming effects appealing, according to recent Mintel research.

Changing consumer choices

“Consumer choices have been hugely impacted by the overhaul in our daily lives caused by the pandemic, and brands should take note that the ‘new normal’ is impacting snacking habits once again,” ​said Ludi Marché, director of Global Insights at Glanbia Nutritionals.

“This presents an opportunity for food manufacturers to diversify their portfolio and customer base through added nutritional ingredients.

“According to our insights, functional snacks for energy, focus and relaxation are increasingly trending with consumers, particularly in the form of bars and ready-to-drink beverages. Adding a custom nutrient premix is an effective way to incorporate healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals into a snack food.”

Glanbia Nutritionals is a €2.68bn company specialising in proteins, custom premix solutions, cheese, bioactive ingredients, plant-based solutions, flavours, micronutrients, bakery ingredients, functionally optimised nutrients and edible films, sold in over 130 countries worldwide.

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