Personal pies
In-store bakeries are offering smaller portions and individual servings.

New niche occasions

Purposeful snacking driven by the need for energy, satiety and indulgence has blurred the lines between traditional meals and snacks. Seventy-three per cent of snacking is driven by the desire to fill unsatisfied needs around food, according to the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA)’s “Snacking Opportunities: Building Better Snacks.”

These new niche occasions create a need for snackable foods that are portable, convenient, single-serve and offer enough variety for all dayparts. Today’s consumers are all about fulfilling personal needs during the eating occasion. Baked goods and snacks are well-suited to be marketed to occasions and can be positioned as convenient or served fresh.

“In-store bakeries now offer smaller portions and individual servings made with quality ingredients that allow a small indulgence, an on-the-go snack or the opportunity to sample a variety of flavors and choices,” Ms. Nielsen said.

Gatorade whey protein bars
Food manufacturers can create niche products for different moments of the day, such as something to eat after a workout.

Again, consideration of the eating occasion is vital. Consumers are not sitting down for big meals but opting for smaller meals and snacks. It’s less likely they will buy a whole pie or cake for dessert unless entertaining a large group.

“Catering to the new eating occasions is a good move for food manufacturers,” Ms. Nielsen said. “They can create and supply niche products for different moments of the day, for example, something to eat when you finish at the gym, a pick me up, energy replenishment or desire for a small indulgence.”

Indulgence is an important driver of snacking behavior, and “treating oneself” is the No. 1 reason to snack between meals, according to “What’s In Store.” Highlighting gourmet, distinct flavors and rich textures enhances offerings of indulgent snacks.

Fancypants Baking targeted the health-conscious consumer looking for a cookie that tastes good but doesn’t break the calorie bank. It has 15 different 100-calorie Crunch Cookie flavors made with non-G.M.O. ingredients. 

FancyPants Crunch cookies
Consumers searching for nut-free snacks are finding more options in the retail arena.

“We spent a lot of time developing our Crunch Cookie line with the ideas of portion control, simple ingredients and taste in mind,” Mr. Evancho said.

According to IDDBA’s snack report, 61% of consumers are opting for healthier snacks, 53% smaller portions and 47% new ethnic flavors and cuisines. In-store bakeries can highlight health claims, which influence certain demographics, specifically older couples, empty nesters and households with children.

“Bakers should continue to create products with quality ingredients,” Ms. Nielsen said. “In-store bakeries are seeing success offering new, artisan products made with wholesome, fresh ingredients that appeal to millennials.”