Sweets and Snacks Innovation Targets Health, Sustainability and Adventure Themes

With consumers often turning to more sustainable and healthier food choices, innovation in the confectionery and snacking categories is prominent. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of global consumers who said that they expect companies to invest in sustainability increased from 65 to 87 percent, according to an Innova Market Insights Consumer Survey (2019). With this in mind, the market researcher is now turning its attention to how trends such as sustainability, health and adventure, are impacting the highly innovative sweets and snacks categories.

Having announced its Top Ten Trends for 2020 towards the end of last year, Innova Market Insights pegged “Storytelling: Winning with Words” as its top trend for the year, driven by the increased interest in consumers discovering the origin stories behind their food. When it comes to sweets and snacks, value can be found not only in ingredient provenance but also in small batch or artisanal production and even in a celebration of different cultures, such as snacks sold on authentic international platforms, the marker researcher highlights.

Moreover, Innova’s #2 trend for 2020 “The Plant-Based Revolution” is a significant movement rooted in demands for more natural, healthy and eco-friendly products. Two-thirds of global consumers say that they specifically want to avoid products with ingredients that are difficult to understand (Innova Consumer Survey, 2019). As a result, more recognizable ingredients from the natural world are very much in favor in snacking development. Vegan products are also extending their reach, while snack bars remain important carriers for many healthy plant-based ingredients.

It is also clear that “The Sustain Domain” is another strong trend for this year. The sweets and snacks market is tackling this issue in various ways. In Japan, for example, paper wrappers are replacing plastic on Kit Kat chocolate bars, while food waste is also an issue which is being addressed, with less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables appearing as ingredients in healthy sweets and snacks.

Consumers are increasingly looking for “The Right Bite” as they attempt to balance busy lives with staying healthy. Snacking is a crucial part of this as snacks can deliver useful nutrition when there is no time for a proper sit-down meal. One area that is expected to become more important is mood food, with active ingredients in snacks helping consumers to relax, improve their sleep or alternatively feel more energized to face the day. At the same time, sweeter, indulgent treats can deliver comfort in a stressful world.

The fifth key trend for this year is “Tapping into Texture,” which is particularly relevant to sweets and snacks as texture can be an important tool in delivering novelty. Seven in ten global consumers think that texture gives food a more interesting experience and this is particularly evident in younger age groups (Innova Consumer Survey 2019). A total of 56 percent of those aged 26-35 say that they care more about the texture experience than they do about the ingredient list, compared with only 37 percent of over-55-year-olds, so textural twists can be a useful tool when targeting the young.

Source: Food Ingredients 1st