2019’s Top 10 influencers: Protein, popped and pairing behind this summer’s BFY snacking

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Nuts will top the list of good-for-you snacks consumed in the UK this summer
Nuts will top the list of good-for-you snacks consumed in the UK this summer

Related tags Bite UK Protein Claims snackification Mintel European Snacks Association vegan Gluten-free Fiber better-for-you

The producer of Pure Bite snacks also predicts consumers will hunt out nuts, snacks with specific health claims and those offering a flavor explosion.

According to Jason Bull, founder and MD of Bite UK Snacks, the healthy snack market is rapidly expanding into the general population, surging past “the health conscious gym bunnies to your average Joe who will be experimenting with healthy snacking.

“What interests me most is the way that a younger audience has embraced healthy snacking and in particular, new and experimental formats,”​ he said.

“This is a source of much potential in how the category is going to develop in order to satisfy the appetites of this younger audience.”

The UK snack producer recently conducted a consumer survey and has released a report detailing the biggest influencers of healthy snacking this summer.

1. Nuts

Last year, the UK nut snack sector was worth £317m, according to the Snack, Nut and Crisp Manufacturer’s Association (SNACMA). Consumers are accustomed to snacking on nuts most eating occasions. They provide a satisfying mouthfeel and filling sensation, as well as a host of natural nutritional benefits.

Bite UK's report predicts we will see more nut clusters, inspiring flavors and new formats. ‘As the category grows, expect to see some big name brands stretching their legs and expanding to take advantage of this growing market.’

2. Brand extensions

The report states that brands that have a natural affinity in the better-for-you (BFY) category will be stamping their logos on products that carry health credentials, such the range of healthier snacks produced by Bite UK Snacks under the YO! Sushi brand, now available in supermarkets.

3. Sweet versus savory

According to SNACKMA, innovative brands are smashing apart the notion of a sweet treat on the one side, with a savory snack in another box.

The two are being mashed together under the same headline in both categories, while also offering profiles that could be interpreted as both sweet and savory at the same time.

4. Popped

The buzzword for 2019, says Bite UK Snacks. The scene is packed with innovations that are popped or baked – not fried – which is catering for a crowd who want snacks with distinctly lower calories.

The snack maker predicts more of the bigger brands will expand into a popped offering, version or product from some of their existing lines.

5. Low fat

Of all the claims made on pack, ‘low fat’ will have the strongest pull for consumers, especially as the message from Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign continues to resonate.

The government health agency recommends snacks that contain less than 100 calories – especially for kids – in a bid to reduce the UK’s obesity crisis.

6. Innovation flavor

Bite UK maintains ‘Success in healthy snacking is wholly dependent on the over-delivery of flavor and taste,’ and BFY snacks need to be as good as – or better than – their full fat counterparts.

As such, we will see more brands experimenting with flavor, a trend confirmed by Mintel’s 2019 salty snacks report that highlighted exotic combos like honey butter, salted egg yolk, fish flavored snacks and salty snacks smothered in chocolate.

7. Specific claims for specific diets

People who follow specific diets not only actively seek out products that make their lives easier, but love to share their finds, too, thereby spreading the power of claims.

This summer, the standout claims are ‘high protein,’ ‘high fiber,’ ‘low fat,’ ‘vegan,’ ‘gluten-free,’ ‘dairy-free’ and ‘preservative free,’ along with ‘no added sugar’ and ‘no added salt’.

8. Comfort gets healthy

Historically, snacks were treats to make consumers feel good; a little spark of joy to perk up the day or give them energy.

Today, though, snacks are eaten throughout the day, often replacing the traditional three meals a day. Sebastian Emig, director general of the European Snacks Association, told BakeryandSnacks that we are moving into a grazing culture ... "with a nibble there and a nibble here to fulfil our needs."

Bite UK Snacks’ report says to expect to see more products that ‘feel like a virtual hug, snacks that are good for you but give you a warm comforting emotion, too.’

9. Snack/drink pairing

According to the report, a major trend is the pairing of snacks with alcoholic drinks. This is morphing into the BFY category, too, and healthier snacks are being paired with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to garner widespread interest.

10. Protein

Last, but not least and arguably the fastest growing sub-sector within healthy snacking.

Bite UK Snacks notes the UK market is saturated with protein packed bars and balls, however, as a staple for healthy living, protein is key. Plant-based is on the rise and so is insect protein – but is that fad or future? It certainly makes for interesting break-time conversation.

Report source:​ Norstat | Consumer Usage | 6,137 GB representative consumers of crisps and/or snacks in the past 6 months | March 2019