Emerging trends

'Five snack trends you need to know about right now’

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

'Anytime is snack time'. Pic: Getty images
'Anytime is snack time'. Pic: Getty images

Related tags: Snack, snacking

Marcia Mogelonsky, PHD, director of insight, Mintel Group, talks us through the five undeniable macro-snacking trends to meet the needs of today’s candy and snack consumers.

#1. Not just about taste

Consumers and snackers also demand snacks that look good, have interesting textures, innovative colors and aromas. With online sales becoming increasingly popular, today’s snacks have to be dynamic and ‘Instagrammable’. Can you share it? Can you put it on your Instagram page? On your Pinterest page? If a snack looks great, it is more likely to be shared on social media and therefore, more likely to be bought and tried. The 'Instagrammability factor' comes down to packaging and design, it has to catch a consumer’s eye - online and on the shelf. The main trends at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo was color and texture; flavor is always going to be important; but it is now about how a snack looks and feels.

#2. Into the story

Every snack should tell a story. Snacks with a history or heritage have a following of loyal fans. Snacks can play on this factor by becoming ‘comfort snacking’, as they evoke childhood memories. The other factor in snacking is to give a boost, a pick-me-up, when consumers may be inclined to try something new. Theses new snacks will become ‘new-stalgic’ snacks, for example, dried fruits or vegetable-based snacks that the Millennials and Gen-Zers will give to their own kids. The story will stick with the brand.

#3. Personalization and customization

‘Make it about me’. ‘My snack should be all about my diet, all about my health’, 'all about my life.' Today’s consumers want their snacks to talk about them – Mintel’s ‘Make it Mine’ report dives deeper into personalization, consumers want a one-to-one snack that is theirs. Some brands are allowing consumers to put their names on packaging and choose ingredients, consumers are demanding control of what goes into a snack.

#4. Balance

A balance between indulgent and healthy snacking is key. At the Sweets & Snacks Expo, we saw a lot of new healthy snacks but there is also a lot of room for indulgence, as long as there is a balance. ‘Portion control’ is not new but is still relevant and we see it today through snack variations such as bites, bits and minis. ‘Indulgent’ and ‘better for you’ can be included in a snack, alternatively, one small bite of a highly indulgent product will satisfy most cravings for something naughty.

#5. ‘Anytime is snack time’

These days, anything can be seen as a snack and snack times can happen anytime of day. There is more competition from categories and you can buy snacks anywhere and anytime, for example, online and instant delivery. The most popular time for snacking is in the afternoon, with young consumers replacing meals with snacks.

  • During her talk at Sweets & Snacks Expo, Mogelonsky revealed a sixth ‘secret’ trend: Recreational Marijuana/CBD use in edibles. Read more about it in this separate article​.

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