Over the past year, snacks have taken on a new significance for consumers. What were once simple indulgences have become sources of much-needed comfort and security during a troubling and uncertain time. Snacks also played a role in breaking up the day for those working from home. One October 2020 survey of US consumers by The Hartman Group found that distraction played a role in a whopping 40% of snacking occasions, while 43% of respondents said they snacked to cope with boredom or frustration.
These changing habits have ignited the development of new products and created new stocking opportunities for food manufacturers and retailers.
Over the past 12 months Covid-19 has significantly changed how consumers go about their day-to-day lives. Whilst initial comfort foods remained the traditional sweet and salty snacks, as lockdowns continued, there was a growing consciousness of health, which has reshaped consumers’ priorities.
But this fresh focus on health doesn’t mean less snacking – it means different, healthier snacking which has led to a boost in healthy snack innovation including veggie crisps, popped snacks and seed-based snacks.
The push for healthier snacking has also increased the need for greater transparency, with brands making their ingredients and health claims clear on packaging and labels.
Snacks that have tangible benefits for consumers, such as boosting energy levels or immunity are of particular interest. Consumers are turning to functional snacking options such as high protein bars and typical sports nutrition snacks, highlighting that a proportion of consumers are moving away from traditional snacking products and looking to healthier alternatives.
There is also a big shift towards snack solutions that give the satisfaction and the great taste consumers love, along with quality, natural ingredients, that also nourish and boost energy.
While health-giving snacks have seen a clear Covid boost, they aren’t the only products consumers are reaching for. As ever, there is also a focus on products with a limited impact on the environment and which make the most of local ingredients.
Consumers are no longer just looking at plant-based options, they’re now conscious about the whole supply chain.
As people slowly return to work and mobility and movement increases, healthy on-the-go snacking is back on the menu, and this is another area for innovation for manufacturers i.e marrying convenience with taste and good nutrition.
Moments of joy
Although demand for healthy snacks has increased, consumers are still looking to indulge, occasionally turning to products that don’t necessarily have healthy credentials. Therefore, the demand for potato chips, chocolate and biscuits remains as consumers are not willing to completely cut out indulgent, comforting products.
The sweet spot for food manufacturers and retailers are snacks that blend health while providing a source of joy. Furthermore, with the absence of restaurant trade, consumers have chosen to treat themselves at home and have discovered new speciality products. This trend of ‘home fine-dining’ is likely to continue and it is up to manufacturers and retailers to develop and stock the right products to satisfy demand.
Chemgrit Food sources and supplies various ingredients including spices, flavours and colourants to the food and beverage industry. For information contact Chemgrit Food.