Top Nutrients in Snack Foods
As consumers have embraced daily snacking, better-for-you versions of favorite snacks have become an expectation for many consumers. Better-for-you does not necessarily mean healthy, but it does mean less of the bad and more of the good.
Many manufacturers are achieving this by reducing added sugars and calories via formulation or portion size control (e.g., with thins, minis, and portion packs). They are also making sure their products contain a healthy dose of the most in-demand nutrients.
Protein foods, both plant- and animal-based, continue to dominate new product launches. According to Mintel, 39 percent of consumers who try to eat healthy at least some of the time look at protein content when choosing healthy foods and beverages.2 In addition, 52 perccent of consumers are reading the nutrition label when they buy a new food.
Popular protein snacks include yogurt, jerky, bean snacks, and protein bars. Nutritional fortification with protein is not just for bars, though. High protein cookies, snack cakes, and snackable breakfast cereals represent the evolution of the protein snack category. A custom nutrient premix can be added to any food to boost its protein, as well as its fiber, vitamin, and mineral content.
Fiber is the top nutrient consumers are trying to consume, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation.3 Grain-based snacks, such as cereal bars, granola bars, and snackable cereals, have a particular advantage in delivering fiber.
In addition, crackers and chips formulated with whole grains can be important sources of fiber in the diet. Fiber bars, nut and seed snacks, and fruit snacks are also options for consumers who are seeking more fiber.
Vitamins and Minerals
Snacks naturally rich in vitamins and minerals include fruit snacks, nut and seed snacks, and combination products like trail mixes. Nutritional fortification allows for higher levels of vitamins and minerals, however, and is especially important for certain population segments, such as children, seniors, and athletes. Fortified nutrition bars are popular snacks that can easily provide vitamins and minerals at 20 percent DV or higher to make a “high” or “excellent source” claim.
Meticulous Research reports high growth underway in food premixes globally, with vitamins dominating the category.4 Adding a vitamin premix to foods is a key strategy for reducing vitamin deficiencies, which are unfortunately still common, even in the U.S. Nutritional fortification of snack foods with a vitamin premix can have far-reaching effects on public health.
Snack Foods to Watch in 2020
While the snack food category as a whole continues to experience rapid growth due to the rise in busy, on-the-go lifestyles and the associated changes in eating habits, certain snack segments are worth watching closely. These are segments that have embraced innovative ingredients, flavors, and formats while keeping nutrition in the forefront.
Brands like Epic helped take jerky to new heights through a focus on bold flavor combinations and alternative meat sources, such as bison, lamb, wild boar, venison, and salmon. Consumers’ demand for high protein, low/no sugar snacks continues to support the growth of the jerky segment. This includes new formats (like Epic’s bites and bars), global varieties, and plant-based options.
Biltong may be the next big thing in jerky. This South African-style beef jerky is known for its tender texture and pronounced beef flavor as a result of a traditional air drying process. Kalahari Biltong offers biltong slices in flavors such as Lime Chili and Spicy Peri Peri. Stryve Biltong Snacks offers biltong in traditional slices, as well as sticks and stick minis.