“Variety vital to innovation”: Innova Market Insights sheds light on snacking habits
24 Aug 2021 --- Taste is the single most important consideration for consumers of salty snacks, according to a new report from Innova Market Insights. The pleasure of the eating experience drives many purchasing decisions. But which types of flavors elicit a mood-boosting response differs, suggesting variety is vital to snack innovation.
“A total of 35 to 40 percent of consumers expressed a preference for strong, novel and varied flavors,” reports Lu Ann Williams, global insights director at Innova Market Insights.
“But at the same time, 20 to 25 percent said that they preferred mild, light and traditional tastes.”
These numbers further evidence the snack sector is being “pulled in a multitude of directions,” which was recently highlighted in a Special Report, where FoodIngredientsFirst spoke with Symrise, The Almond Board of California and Lallemand Bio-Ingredients.
With no clear trend on bold or subtle flavors, formulators may consider balancing the innovative with the familiar.
This is in line with Kerry’s 2021 global taste charts, which identified both “novel flavors” and “nostalgia” as major flavor trends for the year.
Breathing new life into old F&B favorites is spotlighted in Innova Market Insights’ ninth top ten trend for 2021: “Modern Nostalgia.”
This trend emerged over the course of 2020, as consumers sought comforting, nostalgic foods during uncertain times.
Giving an “upgrade” to familiar foods, brands have been tapping into modern nostalgia by featuring a modern twist. This might take the form of a plant-based version, such as vegan mac and cheese, or a specific flavor varietal, employing yuzu rather than classic lemon.
When it comes to whether and when consumers purchase and eat snacks, there can be strong regional differences.
National purchase rates vary considerably, even in neighboring markets. For example, typical purchasing is twice as likely in Sweden compared with Denmark.
However, what is more certain is that snack buying is generally highest in households with children and among consumers of parenting age.
Children are clearly important snack consumers, but this also suggests that sharing and social snacking remain popular. This again reflects the role of snacks in delivering a happiness boost.
The afternoon period between meals remains the number one occasion for consumption of salty snacks, followed by evening snacking.
However, differences in snacking occasions did emerge among regions and also age demographics.
Europeans are most likely to eat snacks in the evenings, while Latin American consumers over-index on morning usage. Similarly, by age, older consumers seem to greatly favor evening occasions, while young consumers are more open to snacking in the mornings.
Foods to uplift
Looking ahead, the COVID-19 pandemic has made treats and indulgence more important than ever, and the snacks category can capitalize on this. As a result, continued diversification and premiumization of products and flavors are anticipated.
Meanwhile, a significant growth is observed in on-pack claims that relate to specific feelings and life qualities.
“Mood foods” target both general mental well-being and specific benefits by using claims related to attributes like focus and concentration, replenishment and recharging and better sleep.
In this space, brands like Toodaloo launched a line of plant-based adaptogenic trail mixes. Available in five varieties, each trail mix is infused with herbs and superfoods that target restoration and energy, as well as skin, gut and mental health.
By Missy Green
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