ROCKVILLE, MD.   — Consumer demand for healthier snack options has fueled the market for chips and crackers made with chickpeas, kale, sweet potatoes and similar ingredients. Sales of such snacks are forecast to increase to $1.7 billion in 2019, posting a three-year compound annual growth rate of 6.2%, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.

“Looking at both present trends and toward the future, alternative ingredient snack sales are going to continue moderate to strong growth over the next few years, building on the larger healthier-for-you trend affecting the overall snack market and on the unique flavors and textures consumers are also craving,” said David Sprinkle, research director of Packaged Facts.

Over the past decade, the percentage of adults who usually only snack on healthy foods grew from 24% to 30%, Packaged Facts said. Millennials and Gen X consumers are significantly more likely to eat snacks made with alternative ingredients than those who are 50 and older.

“As with young families, the potential of these younger cohorts as a driver for the alternative-ingredient snack market is only going to increase with time as they become a greater percentage of the population and gain additional buying power,” Packaged Facts said. “The interesting question is whether those who are just becoming adults now (i.e., Gen Z) will follow in the footsteps of their (slightly older) elders or forge a new snacking path.”

Click for a slideshow of recently launched snacks featuring alternative ingredients.