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The trends and flavors behind America’s new favorite snacksThe trends and flavors behind America’s new favorite snacks

These products are adding a new depth to the snack category providing creative, better-for-you alternatives to traditional favorites like whole fruit snacks, seaweed chips, grain-free cookies and sprouted food pretzels. They prove that munching between meals doesn't have to be a healthy-diet catastrophe. 

Kelsey Blackwell

February 18, 2014

1 Min Read
The trends and flavors behind America’s new favorite snacks

It’s no secret that Americans love to snack. But just how much do we rely on meals between meals to stay fueled throughout the day? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we average 4.9 snacks and meals daily. That’s a 29 percent increase since the 1970s.

Convenience is the name of the game, with consumers ranking portability as the most important factor when choosing a snack, according to Mintel. Who has time to sit and savor when there are always places to go, people to see and things to do? Salty snacks (potato chips are the biggest driver in this category) are by far Americans’ favorite between-meal munchies. Overall sales of salty snacks broke the $17 billion mark in 2012, after growing 30 percent since 2007. But the snack industry faces new challenges, including the increasing awareness of genetically modified ingredients and more concern about overall nutrition. The pressure is on for CPG companies to find balance between affordable and better-for-you.

Natural brands are stepping up with products that address specialty diet concerns and satiate sweet and salty cravings with nutritive ingredients. Think salty, crunchy seaweed in place of traditional potato chips and fruity baobab cubes rather than gummy bears. Natural customers have been quick to embrace these options, which seemingly allow them to have their cake and eat it too. The question is whether the mainstream masses will adopt these more nutritious snacks. You be the judge. Look for some of these new snack options on the show floor at Natural Products Expo West.

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Blackwell

Senior Food Editor, Natural Foods Merchandiser

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