Healthy snacking

Freezing out the competition with better-for-you treats

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Chaucer Foods produces a range of freeze-dried ingredients that will catch the eye of health-conscious consumers. Pic: Chaucer Foods
Chaucer Foods produces a range of freeze-dried ingredients that will catch the eye of health-conscious consumers. Pic: Chaucer Foods

Related tags: Chaucer Food Group, freeze-dried ingredients, better for you, nutrients

Freeze-drying is bang on trend today, helping producers to stay ahead of the demand for guilt-free snacks as the process retains the nutrients, colour, shape and flavour of the primary ingredient. They are also 100% natural and contain no added sugar.

The snacking sector has experienced a massive surge as consumers evolve from the traditional three-meals-a-day sit down occasion to multiple mini meal opportunities. The pandemic, too, has driven the need for a more pick-me-ups than usual.

“You see this a lot with younger generations and breakfast where the ‘meal’ is replaced by a breakfast bar, smoothie or piece of fruit,”​ Shaby Fisher, global marketing manager of Chaucer Foods, told BakeryandSnacks.

“Lunch is heading that way, too. The food-to-go options have transitioned from just sandwiches to everything from salads and chicken bites, to hummus dips and veggies that can be snacked on mid-day.”

The coronavirus pandemic also accelerated interest in snacking. One Mondelez International study  estimated that nearly 90% of adults are snacking as much or more now than they were pre-pandemic and two-thirds rely on snacks as a way to nourish not just their bodies but also their mental energy.

“We’re also seeing people lean toward snack options with simple, recognisable ingredients. It might suggest that during a time where so much was uncertain, people want certainty and familiarity and trust in the things they can control, like the foods we consume.”

So, this brings us to the question of what kind of healthy options are available for consumers looking for a quick snack that still meets nutritional needs?

According to Fisher, Millennials and Gen Zs are arguably the most health-conscious generations ever. But coming out of the pandemic, people still want to be able to indulge more without feeling guilty.

As an ingredients manufacturer, Chaucer Foods wants to help food manufacturers by providing options that “give to the body instead of taking away from it,” ​said Fisher.

“This means flavours that excite, colours that catch the eye and ingredients that give you a little bit more than you’re used to. It can be fruity, nutty, oversized, or flashy, but it also needs to be nutritious and natural.

Still catching the impulse purchase

“You’re going to see a lot more fruits and vegetables, more items rich in vitamins and nutrients, protein-rich energy boost options – but most importantly, it all has to be flavourful. All the healthy innovations don’t matter if the tastes are bland. Snacking is still an impulse purchase. Consumers might try it once, but it’s the flavours that bring them back and turn healthy snacking from a trend into a lifestyle.”

Chaucer has developed a range of freeze-dried and baked ingredients that maintain the primary flavour, along with all the benefits of the nutrients as they are meant to be.

“We have always been on the forefront of consumer trends,”​ said Fisher, noting a study that found over one-third of shoppers are influenced by environmentally-friendly products and businesses that are seen to be sustainably focused.

“At Chaucer, we lean into that by having the highest of standards for the processes that get our ingredients from farm to fork.

“Unlike ingredients dried using other methods, freeze-dried ingredients retain their original nutrients, colour, shape and flavour. They are also 100% natural and contain no added sugar – attributes that are increasingly important to today’s clean label and health-focused consumer.”

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