Snack Flavour Trends Address Adventure, Comfort and Health

savoury snack. mix

Snack food brands are facing a call to launch products that appeal to one or more of these prevailing themes

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KerryDigest Fast Facts:

  • Widespread uncertainty in daily life, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, has helped snacking become a great source of excitement, comfort and distraction.
  • Consumers are travelling the world through flavours, with a rise in globally inspired ingredients featured in snacks.
  • Though many are seeking indulgence, consumers are increasingly more mindful of what they are eating, looking for guilt-free options that offer taste and indulgence and possibly even boost mental or physical wellness.

KerryDigest Full Scoop:

The savoury snack category is rapidly evolving, with consumers increasingly turning to quick bites as a source of comfort and reassurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 9 in 10 European adults say they are snacking as much or more than before, according to The Harris Poll, partially due to the rise of remote working across Europe and Russia.

But snack trends are changing. Although consumers seek indulgence, adventure and taste, they also want snacks that provide health benefits, which presents an added opportunity for manufacturers.

With 85% of new food and beverage products failing within their two years, it is important to have a laser-focus on new trends to increase the probability of success at launch. Here, we examine the snack trends that brands may want to incorporate during the innovation process.

Global and adventurous snack flavours

Restrictions on travel have led consumers to travel the world through their taste buds, with snack manufacturers innovating to meet demand.

Snack products with flavours such as Asian-inspired lime and coriander, chicken tikka and Italian cheese are landing on shelves of late. The 2021 Kerry Taste Charts for Europe and Russia reflect this, with wasabi, sriracha and prosciutto included as up and coming flavours.

Beyond globally inspired tastes, consumers are looking for snack flavours that push boundaries and delight with new experiences.chocolate snack bars

Beyond globally inspired tastes, consumers are looking for snack flavours that push boundaries and delight with new experiences. Around three in five global consumers are interested in trying new sensory experiences, including aromas, tastes, textures and colours. However, research from Innova suggests that when trying new types of food and beverages, familiarity with a twist is favoured, giving brands a chance to mix old and new.

Millennials and Gen-Xers are more inclined to be drawn to novel flavours, with Innova also reporting that over 80% of those in the 26- to 35-year-old category say they love to discover new flavours. Flavours popular with this demographic include jalapeno, black truffle and mustard.

Snacks that deliver comfort and nostalgia

Though many consumers are relying on snacks to provide a sense of novelty, the pandemic has also led to a trend towards comfort eating and indulgent nostalgia. As a result, consumers are also gravitating toward snacks with comforting and familiar tastes.

Comfort was the number one driver of snacking during 2020, with more than half of consumers reporting they’ve bought nostalgic snack brands from childhood and snackssavoury popcorn

Comfort was the number one driver of snacking during 2020, with more than half of consumers reporting they’ve bought nostalgic snack brands from childhood and snacks that bring back good memories.

There has also been a rise in ‘anxiety baking’, with consumers flexing their culinary muscles to tackle boredom and boost their mood.

In the 2021 Kerry Taste Charts, it emerged that well known flavours such as salsa, barbecue and smoke are still sought after by consumers, while meat flavours remain key.

Better health through mini-meals and snacks

Snacking at home is on the rise, and so is the consumer appetite for products that are perceived to benefit mindfulness and wellbeing. Researchers believe one lasting effect of the pandemic will be an increased consumer focus on health.

Globally, half of adults are relying on snacks for mini-meal style nourishment during the pandemic and six in 10 European snack consumers are looking for healthier and better-for-you options. In the UK, the market for better-for-you savoury snacks has grown by 4.2% according to new research from Nielsen.

However, good taste is still a requirement. For example, salty snacks continue to trend, so better-for-you products may need to explore ways to reduce salt content while maintaining great taste.

The use of nutritious base ingredients such as pulses in savoury snacks can lend products a positive nutrition connotation while also adding interest to the taste experience, this combination is supported by new product development in this space. This trend is growing in France, where snacks using lentil and chickpea flour are on the rise for those seeking plant-protein and fibre-based snacks.

Also on the rise are free-from and vegetarian claims, which are growing in the savoury snack category as consumers increasingly associate these claims with positive health benefits.

With snacking on the rise, we are committed to supporting snack brands in the development of products that align with new trends and deliver flavours with strong consumer appeal. To learn more, including information about our Snack of the Quarter initiative, contact us or reach out to your account manager.

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