Time-crunched Americans are snacking more than ever, and in a serious way. In lieu of more traditional meals, consumers are turning to snacks as meal stand-ins — oatmeal bars and bottled smoothies in the car for breakfast; a container of yogurt and a handful of nuts at the desk for lunch; a fast-food snack wrap and soda for dinner. They are also munching on more mini-meals throughout the day to avoid energy crashes. Because snacks are less and less the hunger-soothing bridge between formal meals and more valuable gastronomical events in their own right, consumers want more from their snacks.
This leaves many consumers feeling conflicted. On one hand, we want the snack indulgence we are used to: crisp textures, salty coatings and the kind of satisfying mouthfeel that only high-calorie foods can deliver. On the other hand, we want healthy — nutritious, low-calorie, high-fiber nibbles with the goodness of fruits, veggies and whole grains so we feel better about eating snacks more often. Consumers have usually had to choose one option or the other. But no longer.
Emerging snacks are combining health and indulgence, with a new focus on ingredient quality, a kind of “premiumization” trend affecting snacks across categories. This new quality trend stems in part from the fact that many snacks are initially developed in restaurants.
In this report, we have mapped some ways the new snacking dynamics are playing out along the Trend Map®:
With extensive profiles of each ingredient/food emerging within the five stages of the trend map, this issue of the Culinary Trend Mapping Report provides you with the most up-to-date, insider’s look at what’s hot and what’s not in the world of food. Top food marketers rely on trend mapping to keep them on the pulse of what’s happening and what’s about to happen as far as consumer tastes are concerned.
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In the News
Emerging Snack Food Trends Reveal New Consumer Demands
New York, April 27, 2009 - No longer purely between-meal or after-school refreshments, snacks have taken center stage in American eating. Time-crunched Americans now turn to snacks as meal stand-ins, to fuel on-the-go lifestyles and stave off energy crashes. With snacks’ growing importance, consumers want big bang for their snacking buck: vivid flavor, quality ingredients and pumped-up nutrition according to Snack Foods Culinary Trend Mapping Report from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts. Manufacturers are responding with exciting new snacks that combine indulgence with health and higher quality ingredients.
“Snacks are less and less the hunger-soothing bridge between formal meals. They have become valuable gastronomical events in their own right,” says CCD CEO Kimberly Egan, “especially as consumers demand more from their snacks.”
Doing more with less. Meal-replacement snackers are increasingly craving varied and vibrant flavors from their snacks as well as punches of protein, fiber and vitamins that yield performance benefits.
Better-for-you snacks, such as Alternative Chips made from beets, sweet potatoes and cassava, offer indulgence fused with a perception of healthfulness. Crispy Vegetable Snacks made from green beans, soybeans and chickpeas are minimally processed but offer maximum nutrition along with crunch and salty, spicy flavors. Generation Y snackers have discovered the umami hit of highly nutritious Seaweed Snacks while parents delight in new sweets made with whole grains and other healthful ingredients.
New premium snacks, like Gastro Popcorn with flavors like Madras Curry, Black Truffle or Pimenton de la Vera, replicate creative nibbles found in trendy bars and restaurants. Swanky Pork Rinds illustrate the “real meat” trend in an irresistible high-quality form. More mainstream Nuts Gone Global capture the exotic flavors of global cuisines in canisters of crunchy, healthful nuts.
About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.
About the Center for Culinary Development - CCD is a full-service food and beverage development and research company that blends culinary creativity with strategic marketing expertise for successful product innovation.