Snack back to reality

There may not be a clearer influence of millennials in food than in snacking. This generation is rewriting the rules on mealtimes and snacking.

The global savory snacks market is expected to reach $175.85 billion by 2021, with a CAGR of more than 5%, according to Technomic’s most recent “Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report.”  Snacking has been on the rise for several years, but the past two years have marked a particularly notable growth, with 83% of consumers saying they snack daily compared with 76% in 2014.

Consumers are demanding flexibility in eating options, according to Euromonitor International’s report, “How We Eat: The Changing Face of Global Mealtimes," and they increasingly demand enhanced food quality that delivers on excitement, experience, ethics, indulgence, value and health.

As lifestyles evolve, snacks are no longer confined to confectionery or potato-based products but are more likely to include yogurt, meat snacks and vegetables. Replacing meals with more well-rounded snacks means people can skip meals and, in theory, save time. The nutritional benefits of staple foods like protein and fiber are now widely found in snacks. Sixty per cent of consumers want additional health benefits beyond the food’s inherent nutrition, according to 2017 I.R.I. data.

Lehi Valley Trading Co. conducted extensive research on millennial purchasing behaviors prior to developing Snackworthy, a new line of healthy value snacking options. The company found that 87% of millennials seek and expect healthier options when purchasing value snacks, 30% of millennials are more likely to trade down to cheaper brands and 81% liked the concept of a value brand offering only better-for-you items.

As snacks fill the void between meals, manufacturers must consider more than just nutritional needs when developing products. And taste remains king in snacking.

“Millennials care a lot more about what they’re putting in their bodies,” Mr. Bartlett said. “The problem is they don’t want to sacrifice taste. There are so many innovations happening in food that are allowing us to come up with less processed ways of doing things that still taste good. That’s the key — it has to taste good.”