Getting Treatwise: How The Snacking Industry Is Changing In 2016

6 min read

By Yasmin  Bryant

Manager - Consumer

What does this mean if you’re a business within the Snacks and Food2Go markets? Well, now more than ever, suppliers are looking for people who don’t just make and sell good products, but who are innovative and can push the boundaries of flavour, particularly when using healthier ingredients.

We’ve already seen some striking trends in the snacking market over the last few years. To give one example, popcorn has moved from the cinema to the supermarket shelves, with flavours such as ‘Gin and Tonic’, pulled pork and ‘Cheese on Toast’ sitting alongside traditional flavours. Crisps are now available ‘baked’ and ‘popped’ as alternatives to the regular fried variety, and companies in the category are constantly trying to reinvent themselves to maintain their positions in a competitive market. Here is a rundown of some of the latest snacking trends which are creeping their way into our everyday lives…

Protein

Protein has been popular in snacks for a while, but with modern nutrition advice promoting its muscle-building and recovery properties, people are now coming up with new ideas on how to get it into our diet.

One idea which might not enjoy universal appeal is that of eating insects.  It may sound… unappetising at best, but insects are both high in protein and low in calories. Food manufacturers have begun to catch on to this and ‘Cricket Flour’ is now being used as an ingredient in snack bars such as Exo, Crobar and many others.

Many even see insect products as the solution for a sustainable alternative to meat, as making them produces less greenhouse gas.

Raw Ingredients

Cooking our snacks is becoming a thing of the past. There is an increasing trend for consumers to favour ‘raw food’ based bites, due to science suggesting snacks made with raw ingredients maintain more of their natural nutrients. Although the definition of ‘raw’ ingredients is still unclear, generally anything that has been cooked at below 45oC can be considered raw.

As a society, we are adopting a ‘clean label’ attitude towards food. We want to know exactly what we are eating and we want as little done to it as possible.

Snackification of meals

Due to the majority of us having more hectic lifestyles, we now do a lot of our eating on the go. Snack food companies have capitalised on this and have started to produce food not to supplement meals, but to replace them outright. The breakfast category has been transformed, with people demanding healthier snack type products rather than eating at home with the family, as was previously the norm.

Free From

‘Free From’ is another trend which the Snacking sector has embraced. Whether it’s gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, meat-free there are now entire sections devoted to alternative recipes of common favourites. These are even popular for people without allergies, as they are perceived as healthier than the standard equivalent.


What does this mean for the snacks industry?

Now that we can buy virtually any food we want packaged and ready to go in snack form, corporations are, now more than ever, having to think ‘outside the packet’. Consumers are no longer happy with standard crisps, nuts and snack bars. A significant portion of our food consumption is eaten on the go, and we want more variety but not at the expense of our health.
It is a very exciting and innovative stage of the Snacking Revolution, as developers have to be more imaginative than ever to make their product stand out from the crowd. The push towards health foods and sustainability is moving ‘snacking’ from a guilty pleasure to a healthy option and it shows no sign of slowing down!

But the changes in the industry also bring a new set of demands and challenges from the leadership of ambitious snacking firms. Those with staff who can’t embrace the change with the flexible, creative strategies required could be at risk of losing ground. If you’ve got a pressing need for someone with the nous to drive your business forward, get in touch with James Bowers on +44 (0) 333 323 2000 or at jamesbowers@csgtalent.com.