Snacking smarter: better for you snacks for health-conscious consumers

INDUSTRY NEWS , FOOD AND BEVERAGE , CEREAL AND BARS , HEALTH BENEFIT SOLUTIONS , ARTICLE , MARKETING 10/24/2017

4 min read

By:  Talking Nutrition Editors

Summary

  • Today’s population place a high value on their health and wellness, leading to a change in snacking behavior compared to previous generations 
  • This behavior change means the better for you industry must grow and innovate to meet growing demand 

Whether it’s following a healthy diet or exercising on a regular basis, as a generation, Millennials put a high priority on health and wellness. As such, their snacking behaviors and the foods they choose between meals are slightly different from the behaviors and choices of previous generations. Better for You (BFY) snacks, nutritious snack products that are void of the controversial ingredients found in many snack foods on the market, have become a go-to option for Millennials, despite fierce competition in snacking. A report from earlier this year reveals that 89% of Millennials consume at least one BFY snack weekly, and that Millennial parents are getting a new generation interested in BFY snacks: 55% of Millennial moms claim their children would likely choose a BFY snack over another packaged option.4  And while Millennials are a key demographic in the BFY market, they aren’t the only ones who may be buying into the trend. With medical conditions like obesity and heart disease – both linked to unhealthy diets – on the rise between 2013 and 20151, consumers of all ages pursuing healthier lifestyles to avoid and/or combat health problems are an important target for manufacturers offering BFY options. Incorporating antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients associated with heart health in BFY snacks is a smart approach for attracting non-Millennial snackers.  

With interest from multiple demographics in the market, the BFY snacks category as a whole has grown 18% from 2015 to 20171, and there is still room for more growth. Vegetable and fruit chips and “other” BFY snacks (a variety of snacks closer to mainstream snacks) lead the way in growth over the last two years, both of which can be attributed to familiarity and health reputations associated with the snacks.

So, between consumers’ growing interest in healthier options and room in the marketplace for BFY snack options, breaking into the market seems like a no-brainer for manufacturers, right? Well, yes, but not so fast. There are market-wide challenges that should be considered, but can be overcome with the right messaging, packaging, flavors and ingredients. Competition in the traditional snack market – most notably chips and dips, salty snacks, nuts/seeds/trail mixes, cookies and other non-BFY options – is a notable barrier to entry. Healthy snack options, like fresh fruits and vegetables, also serve as competition to BFY snacks, and are perceived by consumers as the healthiest option. Additionally, high prices for healthy snacks and lack of access to BFY snacks for some consumers must be considered.1 

Despite these obstacles, healthy snacking through BFY packaged products seems to be on the verge of expansion, with nearly one-third of consumers appearing to be moving in the right direction in terms of healthier snacking.1 For smart snackers interested in BFY options, claims that signify the products’ added health benefits are essential. Research shows that brands that included multiple healthy claims into their brand messaging are able to communicate the health benefits of products to a wider consumer base. 1 Development and promotion of products that are low/no sugar, good sources of protein, low calorie and have no artificial ingredients have been shown to be most important to consumers purchasing BFY snacks.

In addition to avoiding controversial ingredients and promoting healthy claims, including easily recognizable ingredients – like fruits, wholegrains and seeds or nuts – is a smart way to appeal to consumers who are interested in healthy options, but have not yet embraced BFY snacks. Interested in seeing which ingredients would work best in the formulation of healthy snacks? Fortitech Premixes’ Solution Starter can help manufacturers develop the next top-selling BFY snack food product.

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References

1.  Averbook, M. (2017). Better for You Snacks. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/2zPmLxV 

2.  Woshnak, L.L. (2016). Strategic Nutrition for Millennials – Part I. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/2fcts72 

3.  Eggersdorger, M. (2017). Strategic Nutrition for Heart Health. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/2yVQuE4 

4. Macdonald, C. (2017). Study: Millennials drive the better-for-you snacking trend. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/2piwh7

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