An Overview of the Snack Market
Snacking is really evolving this year, taking on a more important role as a meal substitute in daily eating. Snacks are hanging tough despite the foot-dragging economy, as nearly one-quarter of consumers struggle to make ends meet. But snackers are snacking more frequently, and the products they’re eating play a more important role in wellness- and indulgent-related eating occasions.
Even though consumers are more conservative, they are snacking more today than they were only a few years ago and are looking for “small” indulgences that won’t completely run them off their dietary track. The number of consumers snacking three or more times daily has increased sharply since economic downturn, and consumers snack even more as they get older.
Consumers are also looking for something healthier. So snack manufacturers are taking these cues and making their products healthier, more attention-getting and in different portions. “Snack marketers are faced with huge opportunity as the U.S. population ages. But snack marketers need to proceed with caution in this fragile economic environment. Value is critical, so finding the right pricing lever is paramount to driving category growth, capturing share of snack spending, and retaining and building customer loyalty. Yesterday’s strategies are being met with diminishing returns, and a new day is dawning for snack marketers.
Food suppliers are also looking at globalization and emerging markets including China, India and Brazil for inspiration. “They’re seeing the creation of on-trend spicy and ethnic flavors such as chamoy, rancherito and sweet Thai chili, as well as more healthy and better-for-you options like baked and popped potato crisps,”. “Despite the economy, the category has grown,” “Consumers of all ages enjoy salty snacks because these products have widespread appeal.”
Consumers simply want great-tasting products. If products also have healthier attributes (such as reduced fat), they are additional benefits. However, if the product’s healthier attributes compromise taste, consumers will be less likely to buy them.” Consumers are also looking for authentic ethnic flavors in their snacks that are extreme
Economic issues are also prompting consumers to choose snacks to replace more and more meals. “It’s the responsibility to offer consumers better-for-you products. American consumers are looking at snacking as an important part of a healthy lifestyle. This is far removed from how snacking was perceived in the past as unhealthy, gut-filling, useless junk food. One of our biggest challenges is to deliver great taste while improving the nutritional aspect of the product.”
The outlook for snacks as strong, but they’re not going to look like they did in the past. “Snack foods moving forward won’t just have to taste good, they will also be healthy for you and serve a function as well. “Consumers will be seeking out products with real ingredients they are familiar with or unique, whole ingredients from different parts of the world, not products that have chemical-looking ingredient names developed in a lab. They are developing healthy, several tasty product combinations for new product launches.”
Sweet-and-salty continues to be a driver in the popcorn segment. “It’s an excellent savory carrier for sweeter flavors like cinnamon and chocolate. “One opportunity we have in our category is to further educate the consumer that popcorn is a healthy snacking option and that there are high quality, all-natural popcorn products that taste amazing, so they don’t have to make any compromises.”
“The outlook for the snack food industry is very good,”. “Even in tough economic times, snack foods can be an inexpensive luxury for people to enjoy. As the economy continues to improve, and consumers recognize the benefits of a healthier and cleaner diet, the natural and organic snack category should grow quickly.”
Dollar sales of pork rinds in U.S. supermarkets, drugstores, convenience stores and mass market retail locations, excluding Walmart, totaled almost $261 million, up by nearly 4.5 percent from the prior year. Unit sales were virtually flat, rising just 1.25 during this time period.
Along with changing formats such as lower-sodium varieties and unique flavors, there have been innovations in the pork rind category as a whole, such as microwavable products that are sold uncooked. And sustainability has been a focus when it comes to packaging, with some companies developing petroleum-free bags.
“They are looking for specific items on the label to improve health, especially whole grains, and consumers often look to additional resources to verify food and health information, but changing guidance is confusing
Gluten-free products and non Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are huge drivers for the snack category. “They aren’t just fads,” “These are significant concerns that consumers have about their health and the safety of the food they’re eating. The snack and chip category are growing quickly with unique products; it is our goal to offer more unique varieties of chips to consumers.”
“Now more than ever, heat and spice can play an upfront strategic role to differentiate familiar products or to attract specific consumer segments and demographics. “There are endless ways for food manufacturers to mix and match flavorful ingredients to enhance the consumer experience and drive powerful innovation.”
Snacks, in general, are also going functional, and the efficacy of health benefits claims is important to drive market growth. In fact, vegetable chips made from sweet potatoes, taro, yucca, parsnip and others are big tournament winners right now as alternative snacks. “The development of chips made from alternative ingredients, such as beans, rice, etc., is expanding quickly to give consumers a healthier option”
“People want snacks that are really hot which makes habanero chili-spiked chips that all have a heat scale rating.”Consumers are looking for artisan and gourmet kettle chips, unique flavors and more nutritious products, all of which we can offer,” The biggest opportunities for growth include continuing to meet consumer’s needs through innovation and creation of value-added products. The outlook is positive for snacks.”
New Dawn for Snack Market
Snacking is assuming a more important role as an everyday meal substitute. Despite the economic downturn and nearly twenty-five percent of consumers struggling without enough money to buy essentials, consumption of snacks increased. Consumers’ health and indulgent eating occasions depend more importantly on the types of snacks they eat.
Consumers, though being more conservative, are snacking more than they were some years back, and are seeking little indulgences without disturbing their daily food habits. The number of consumers snacking 3 or more times a day increased tremendously after the economic downturn. Further, consumers tend to snack more often as they age.
Manufacturers are producing snacks in healthier, different, and more attention-grabbing servings following cues that suggest the growing popularity of healthier products. The aging U.S. population provides immense opportunities to snack marketers. Since value is critical, the right pricing is more important for the growth of snacks, securing consumer spending, and improving and maintaining consumer loyalty. Snack marketers are presented with new opportunities as past strategies are yielding dwindling returns.
Food suppliers aim to widen their footprint across the world and tap developing markets such as India, Brazil, and China. Food manufacturers intend to create ethnic and trendy spicy flavors such as chamois, sweet Thai chili, and ranchero. Further, food suppliers are trying to create better and healthier choices such as popped potato and baked crisps. Consumers irrespective of their age enjoy salty snacks because of their widespread appeal.
Consumers simply need products that taste great and offer added health benefits such as less fat. But consumers are unlikely to buy if the health benefits of the products compromise with the taste. Consumers also look for genuine ethnic flavors in the snacks they consume. Snack manufacturers’ biggest challenge is to provide better products with great taste and nutritional value. Economic reasons are also prompting consumers to replace meals with snacks. This is a paradigm shift from the way snacks were considered in the past, as junk, unhealthy foods.
The snacks industry would offer good opportunities to manufacturers in the future despite changes in market dynamics. Snacks must taste good and also offer healthy choices to consumers. Consumers would seek snacks made from familiar or whole, unique ingredients sourced from different parts of the world, and would not prefer products with chemical like ingredient names. Snack manufacturers are developing several tasty and healthy combinations to launch new products.
Salt and sweet combination, an all-time favorite in the popcorn segment, is an excellent mouth-watering carrier for more sweet flavors such as chocolate and cinnamon. Bringing awareness among consumers that popcorn products are all-natural, taste good, are of high quality and a healthy snack alternative would increase sales opportunities. Even in difficult economic times, consumers enjoy snack foods as an inexpensive luxury. With the improving economy and growing awareness of the importance of a cleaner and healthy diet, the organic and natural snack segment is projected to grow quickly.
Value sales of pork rinds in the US drugstores, supermarkets, and mass retail market stores, excluding Wal-Mart, amounted to about $261 million, an increase of about 4.5% over that of the previous year. Unit sales were almost flat, just rising by 1.25% during the same period. The pork rind segment witnessed innovations such as the introduction of unique flavors, low-level sodium varieties, and microwavable products, which are put up for sale uncooked. And sustainability became a buzz word in packaging with the development of petroleum-free bags. Consumers generally look for certain items such as whole grains on the product labels and verify health and food information from other resources.
Non-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and Gluten-free products are not just fads but huge driving forces in the snack segment and are important concerns for consumers. The chip and snack segments are quickly growing with distinct products, and manufacturers are aiming to offer chips of distinctive varieties to consumers. Further, spice and heat play a strategically direct role in distinguishing popular products or attracting specific demographics and segments of consumers. Endless choices are available to food manufacturers in terms of mixing and matching flavors to drive innovations and improve the consumer experience.
Snacks are becoming functional, and the effectiveness of health benefit claims is an important driving force for market growth. Snacks such as vegetable chips made from taro, sweet potatoes, parsnip, yucca, and others are the most popular alternative snacks. Manufacturers are quickly developing chips using alternative ingredients such as rice and beans to offer healthier options to customers.
Consumers also prefer real hot snacks with heat ratings on a scale such as a habanero spiked chili chips. The industry is capable of meeting the expectations of consumers by offering products with more nutrition and unique flavors, gourmet kettle, and artisan chips. Matching consumer needs continuously by offering value-added and innovative products is the biggest opportunity for growth.