The global snack food market incorporates salty snacks, confectionery, baked snacks and frozen snacks alike.
66% of UK adults admit to snacking at least once a day and 37% of 25-34 year-olds say that they snack instead of having a proper meal once daily or more, according to Mintel Consumer Snacking in March 2019.
A shift in consumer behaviours has had a direct impact on innovation within the snacking market. Increasing preferences for foods that fulfil health needs, environmental concerns, convenience and a desire for uniqueness, are just a handful of the factors set to drive growth in the 2020 snacking industry.
There is no doubt that the snacking market is open for innovation, so FoodBev has provided a breakdown list of five of the main factors that are set to impact snacking trends this year.
Health at convenience
Today’s consumers have become increasingly conscious about their health and wellness. Traditionally ‘unhealthy’ snack foods, such as chocolate and crisps, are out in favour of fast and convenient snacks that provide both nutrition and functionality.
Snack foods that give a quick and easy health boost have become a popular area of innovation for food companies. Consumers can even get one of their five-a-day through snacking treats such as air-dried fruit and vegetables, which offer a longer lasting alternative to fresh varieties.
‘Low-sugar’, ‘no added sugar’ and ‘sugar-free’ are claims that many new snack products are making, due to the consumer shift towards healthier food choices, with many products using fruit as a natural sweetener.
As well as reduced sugars, many companies are now opting for snacks with a lower carb content too. For example, Quest Nutrition recently launched a new line of low-sugar, low-carb snack bars.
Functional snacks are another key area for innovation as consumers seek to gain specific benefits from their snacks. With health-conscious consumerism on the rise, the snacking market is turning to natural ingredients to provide on-the-go functionality.
High-protein snacks, such as Huel’s peanut butter flavour ‘complete nutrition bar’, have become popular among consumers looking for a natural energy boost. The protein snack market will continue to grow in 2020, and the use of plant-based protein is a key area to look out for.
The use of CBD as a functional ingredient has become a significant trend in the snacking industry. CBD claims to have various benefits, such as helping with sleep and anxiety. According to Grand View Research, the global cannabidiol market was valued at $4.6 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to witness a lucrative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.2% over the forecast period.
While CBD infusions usually come in the form of teas and other ready-to-drink beverages, such as Calm Drinks’ multivitamin sparkling water infused with CBD, there has also been growth in the number of CBD-infused snacking foods on the market. US brand Good Day Chocolate sought to take advantage of booming growth in the CBD category with a new line of functional CBD chocolates.
Gut health benefits associated with probiotics, ‘beauty’ benefits of collagen and the promotion of general health and wellbeing claimed by antioxidant-rich products are a few more functional snacking trends. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we also expect to see a variety of snacking product launches in 2020 with immune health benefits.
On-the-go snacking products could be seen as a cause for concern when it comes to sustainability, due to their disposable nature and use of excess packaging. As such, many companies are looking to shrink their contribution to packaging waste by introducing recyclable and biodegradable packaging solutions.
For example, earlier this year the market saw the launch of Fazer Group’s new oat snacks with sustainable carton packaging and Nestlé released a Smarties bar produced in recyclable paper packaging.
Richard Watson, business executive officer for Nestlé Confectionery in the UK and Ireland, said: “At Nestlé, we have committed to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.” With big brands like Nestlé responding to sustainable packaging demands, we expect to see this snacking industry trend continue beyond 2020.
According to The Independent, 40% of wasted fruit and vegetables are “imperfect” or “wonky” produce that has been turned away by supermarkets for not complying with cosmetic standards.
As a result, food waste has been a key focus of sustainability concerns that snacking companies are adapting to. For example, UK-based Spare Snacks launched a new range of crisps made from surplus fruit and vegetables, as it aims to give value to oddly shaped, discoloured or blemished produce.
The plant-based market has seen significant growth in the past few years and the snacking sector has played a notable role in this. The global plant-based snacks market was valued at $34.69 billion in 2019 and is forecast to reach $73.61 billion by 2028, according to Future Market Insights.
This rising demand has led to increased competition and a plethora of exciting new plant-based product launches. From vegan jerky to almond milk yogurt and vegan protein bars, innovation is rife within the plant-based snacking market.
Plant-based snacks are often targeted towards the more health-conscious consumer, and many companies are adapting manufacturing methods to suit these needs. Conventional crisp-making methods, such as deep-frying, have been replaced with a trend for popped and puffed crisps.
Popped and puffed snacks often use ‘healthier’ ingredients such as seaweed, lentils, chickpeas and seeds. For example, British brand Plant Pops launched their vegan Popped Lotus Seeds snack line, which aimed to meet consumer demand for healthier snacking alternatives.
The landscape of the global food and beverage industry has been rapidly changing over the past few months. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is likely that consumers will lean towards healthier snacking options at a time when their wellbeing is crucial.
It is also worth noting the impact the pandemic has had on the vending industry, as one of the most common places consumers get their snacks from is vending machines. With 80% of vending machines located within offices and workplaces which are no longer being used as many work from home, a fall in economic activity is likely.
The president of the European Vending & Coffee Service Association (EVA), Paolo Ghidotti, wrote an open letter to European leaders highlighting the “devastating impact” that the pandemic is having on the vending industry. For example, EVA has claimed that vending operators are reporting business losses of up to 90% due to a majority of employees working from home.
According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global snack food market is expected to grow from $210.4 billion in 2019 to $215.9 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 2.7%. This low growth is down to economic slowdown across countries affected by Covid-19.
Having said this, the report also claims that the snacking market is then expected to recover and grow at a CAGR of 7% from 2021 and reach $264.8 billion in 2023.
The May 2020 edition of FoodBev magazine featured a piece on savoury snacking as a convenient way to satisfy cravings between meals. Other actionable insights for food and beverage professionals this year include topics such as convenience, functional confectionery and healthy snacks.
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© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023
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