With a nibble here and a nibble there, consumers are looking to fulfil their needs. Instead of the classical three meals a day, people enjoy more eating moments, with smaller portions and with a focus on nutrition and variety; we are more into a grazing culture, as Sebastian Emig (The European Snack Association) said after Snackex 2019.
How can bread and savoury snacks meet the grazing needs of today’s consumers, with their fragmented beliefs and ambiguous expectations? Consumers are personalising their diet and doing their own research to decide what is good for them. And a diet that works well for one person may not work for another person. On top of this self-reliance, comes the ambiguity of wanting to satisfy cravings, while committing to reduce sugar and salt intake.
In this challenging environment three key factors keep driving new snack development: taste, pleasure and healthier nutrition.
Savoury inclusions are made from vegetable puree, with the addition of herbal or spicy notes if desired, and they are a salt-free option to bring taste, pleasure and nutritional appeal into bread and snacks.
In bakery and salted snacks, vegetable ingredients can boost fibre, a much sought-after attribute. A cherry-chili inclusion could offer some spicy variation in brioche and fruit bread, as an alternative to classical raisins. Or a bell pepper or pineapple-curry inclusion can add flavour and pleasant texture in a nut and seed cracker. Such adventurous flavour combinations are especially appealing to young foodies. A report of the American Bakers Association (ABA) from 2019 showed that young consumers enjoy bakery items throughout the day. Sweets and bars are on top of their most wanted list and crackers are a close third (1). Generation Z loves ethnic options and bold flavours, such as hot sauces and sweet and savoury combined foods (2). As small as 27 mm, vegetable inclusions could even fit in crisps or nachos.
In the fruit and vegetable snacking category, vegetable ingredients make it possible to add vegetables for kids in a fun and tasty format. Adding chia seeds or quinoa can add a surprisingly crunchy texture. Nibbling a sweet potato and strawberry or a pumpkin and blackcurrant snack is a fun addition to fresh fruits and vegetables. Veggie snacks can be one portion of their recommended five-a-day.
In the busy bars category, savoury inclusions can create excitement and variation. A combination such as apricot paired with rosemary can bring sweetness and herbal notes in an energy bar. Thanks to the addition of soluble fibre, a savoury inclusion is also capable of increasing fibre content and to deliver satiety in bars. Mintel recommends pairing 'high-fibre' with 'low/no added sugar': snack bars can use a mix of whole grains, nuts and seeds as well as vegetables to ensure they remain a low-sugar option (3). It is also possible to integrate active ingredients in these inclusions, which allows the creation of fortified snacks. Balancing indulgence with healthiness stays important in bars.
Savoury inclusions can bring the nutritional appeal, authentic flavour and colour of vegetables into nutritional bars and baked snacks such as crackers, flatbread or bread sticks. Salty snack brands looking to combine pleasure and health without compromising on taste can certainly find inspiration in these soft and tasty vegetable pieces, which can even be enhanced with chia seeds, quinoa or crisped rice for extra crunch.
(1) Millenials and Gen Zs buy bread a,d sweet goods weekly: ABA Report, May 2019 https://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/Article/2019/05/01/Millennials-and-Gen-Zs-buy-bread-and-sweet-goods-weekly-ABA-report?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=03-May-2019&c=bv4cxCQES%2BCedHO6lIDxFb%2FgYy9TZZwP&p2=
(2) What are the breakfast food and beverages preferences of members of the "Gen Z" generation?
(3) Mintel, delivering a high-fibre hit in snack bars, Jan 2020