While three meals a day is the general norm for most people to sustain themselves, snacks offer an opportunity to eat between those meals—either as a way to curb hunger or simply as a treat to enjoy.
One of the snack categories that has tried to break through mainstream channels for years has been edible insects. While people have been eating bugs for centuries, the trend has never really taken off. “Edible insects are not only abundant in numbers, but are cost-effective and have considerable health benefits,” explains one dietitian. “Insects are nutritionally rich, yet very low in calories, which is thought to help combat obesity and related diseases.”
Have you tried edible insects like crickets?
What about some of these other exciting snack items?
- Cappuccino Lays Potato Chips. One of the Lay’s Do Us A Flavor contest flavors, these chips reported have “earthy, bold espresso notes along with soft, creamy dairy and just a hint of cinnamon.” Note, these chips do Not Contain Caffeine
- Banana pudding nuts. This snack is advertised as “the perfect mixture of fresh banana and sweet, creamy pudding from the Dee’s Nuts company.”
- What would fall be without pumpkin spice in everything? Poppy’s Pumpkin Spice popcorn sounds delicious: “salted caramel popcorn made with pumpkin pie spice and toasted pumpkin seeds.”
Insights for Snack Brands: What’s Hot, Not, & Next
The worldwide snack food market is expected to grow to $230.27 billion in 2021. This category has seen a lot of consumer behavior fluctuations during the pandemic. Changes in social and economic patterns, awareness about healthy foods, at-home meal patterns, and the desire to taste new products are just of the few market forces that keep this sector in constant innovation mode.
With shopper preferences constantly changing, how does a snack brand stay connected with what’s hot, not, and next?
Consumer and market intelligence platforms like Skai are increasingly used by snack brands looking to keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the category in real-time and get ahead of the latest trends.
Skai collects more data than anyone else relevant to snacks (social reviews, product listings, ratings, reviews, patents, etc.) so that brands don’t miss a thing. Then, we apply natural language processing so that it’s easy to extract what is happening in the snacks category and why — and what will happen in the future. And we visualize the data in a way that makes it easy to understand for anyone from Insights, Marketing, Brand, Product Innovation, and more.
Our Sweet & Savory Snacks category includes data from over:
- 108,400+ products
- 5,190,000+ consumer discussions
- 455000+ key opinion leader posts
- 11,000+ patents
So what is the data showing us? Let’s take a look!
- Nutritionally Fortified. With 100% growth in new products and patents that mention this benefit, post-pandemic consumers are more health-conscious than ever. There’s also been a 200% increase in snack-related consumer discussions that mention the Nutritionally Fortified topic.
- Fiber is a popular benefit in many food & beverage categories, including baby food and pet food. There were 572 new Fiber snack products released in the last year and 1,122 Fiber snack patents filed in the previous five years.
- Chocolate is an ingredient that continues to be hot in just food items but even in candles, soaps, and other household products. But, of course, in the Sweet & Salty Snacks category, Chocolate shines. It’s already in 17,000 of the snack products we monitor, and another 1,146 new Chocolate snacks were released in the last twelve months. So it’s hard to believe that a time will come when Chocolate snacks are not hot.
- Gluten-Free has started to taper off a bit in the food & beverage industry as other diet fads and trends dominate the headlines. As a result, there has been a 2% decrease in new Gluten–Free products released, and patents filed recently.
- Spicy snacks will always be a part of the grocery aisle, but things might be cooling off on this hot subcategory with consumers discussing the taste trend less recently. There has been a 4% decrease in Spicy snack social media posts and a 1% decrease in consumer reviews about those items.
- Keto is another fad that has been falling recently in the food & beverage industry. Although 299 new Keto snack products were released in the last year, only six new snack patents have been filed in the previous five years that mention the once hot trend.
- Herbal is a fast-growing new trend in snack foods. There has been a 367% increase in new snacks highlighting Herbal ingredients. Consumers are buzzing about this as well. There has been a 47% spike in Herbal snack product reviews and a 17% increase in social media posts about them.
- Sticky could be considered a bit of an odd texture to trend up but, it’s exploding. While just 72 snack products (out of the 108,000+) that Skai tracks mention Sticky, there has been a 500% growth in new patents filed (146) for Sticky snacks.
- Plum is a new flavor that is trending upwards. There has been a 700% increase in new snack products released, and snack patents filed mentioning Plum, and a 240% increase in product reviews that mention this flavor.
Top Snack Brands (by number of consumer discussions)
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The snack trend to watch: healthy diet
One of the clear food & beverage themes coming out of the pandemic has been a deeper level of awareness regarding what we consume impacts our digestive and immunity health. COVID-19 may just spur a generation of children to think better about what they eat.
Unhealthy foods—such as extremely sugary and salty snacks—are even coming under fire from the government. According to The Guardian, “supermarkets in England are to be barred from displaying unhealthy food and drinks at checkouts as part of a proposed government crackdown on obesity. And in Philadelphia, sugary drink sales fell 38% after the city adopted a soda tax.
Snack brands are seeing this market change and are shifting their R&D strategies to better reflect their customers’ new priorities. Today, only 8,413 Healthy Diet snacks are on the market, but more than a third of that number (2,910) of snack patents have been filed recently that mention Healthy Diet.
The chances are that a wave of healthy snacks is about to hit our grocery shelves! Hopefully, they still taste great, even if they are better for us.
To find out what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s next in your industry, please reach out today to schedule a brief demo of Skai’s market intelligence platform.