The modern day consumer snacks, on average, four times a day according to research body Mintel.
A snack can be many things, from an energy boost, a convenient meal replacement, a reward after a hard day or a ‘tide-me-over’ until dinner time.
LINPAC has identified some key consumers trends when it comes to snacking, which are notably influencing the food and packaging industries.
Health vs indulgence
A tough debate when it comes to snacking; should a snack be healthy or indulgent or can it be both? A rise in the ‘better for you’ snack trend has lead to a recent Mintel report finding that one third of consumers said they want healthier snack options.
With rising obesity levels and consumers generally becoming more educated about nutrition, the search is on for the perfect balance. Latest research has indicated that a snack containing 200 calories is perfect in providing enough energy, but being a big enough size to satisfy needs of peckish consumers, whilst not unnecessarily over indulging.
Canadean Intelligence Centre identifies this trend as ‘permissive indulgence’ in which guilt-reducing iconic health ingredients are incorporated into traditional indulgences such as soft drinks, salty snacks and confectionery.
This has also been called ‘responsible indulgence’ by pairing a little bit of good with a little bit of bad. Some examples of popular healthy ingredients are whole grains, garlic, blueberry, ginger and pomegranate. Innovation in texture and taste is also enabling brands to tap into the indulgence category, despite launching products made up of mainly ‘healthy’ ingredients.
More convenience please
Mintel’s research shows that convenience is one of the most important factors when selecting a snack; 77% of snackers prefer ready-to-eat snacks to those you have to prepare. Work place snacks and snacks in an on-the-go format are more in-demand than ever.
Consumers also require multi-performance snacks that provide them with the necessary nutrients to keep them fuller for longer and replenish energy levels, whilst all the time tapping into that need for ‘snackisfaction’.
Protein-based snacks are a great example of this, with new products being launched all the time.
Adventurous consumers are looking for new food and drink solutions to try and for differentiated snack options that respond to their needs – whether they are looking for indulgence, an energy boost or simply needing to feel fuller between meals.
Consumers desire products that are tailored to their daily routines and different lifestyles. Gone are the days of the generalised snack aisle or counter; consumers want specialised snacks according to the type of day they are having. The opportunities stemming from this trend are endless.
Snack manufacturers are also including an increasingly complex range of flavours and ingredients, from hot and spicy variations to those with an ethnic twist, to further tap into new consumer demands.
It’s all in the timing
Innova Market Insights has discovered that consumer requirements alter depending on the time of day the snack is to be consumed. At breakfast time for example, the most important factor was found to be convenience, the afternoon snack was required to replenish energy levels and the evening snack focused more on indulgence, acting as a reward.
The importance of packaging
Packaging plays a huge part in the take up and success of snack foods.
Smaller portion and convenient formats are a key requirement within the snack food packaging market. Consumers need packaging that is ease-of-everything; from ease-of-hold to ease-of-storage.
Resealable and reclosable designs are also desirable for cost-effective snacking, especially when it comes to “eat me / keep me” snack packs, which enable consumers to keep food fresher for longer.
Single-served portion controlled packs are favoured for more tempting snacks as they restrict the amount consumed and avoid over-indulgence.
The LINPAC Freshware range ticks many of these boxes. LINPAC Vertifresh®really stands out in the rapidly growing ‘grazing’ market, offering a crystal clear vertical pack that is top sealed to maintain product freshness and extend shelf life. Vertifresh is the ideal option for at the desk grazing with its compartments and clip-in topping tray designs to segregate dressing options.
LINPAC Vertiwrap®is perfect for consumers on-the-go, hoping to grab a quick something on the way to their next meeting. The robust and contemporary design ensures maximum protection and portability whilst always retaining freshness.
For those with a sweet tooth they are always trying to ignore, fear not, LINPAC LeanBake®Portion Packs provide consumers with that little bit of indulgence, without the temptation of having just one more slice.
In a recent interview, Innova Market Insights stated that the UK is considered a world leader in terms of design and communication of packaging – as an industry it seems we have a lot to live up to!
Over to you….
Will healthy alternative snacks being placed at the checkout change the way they are packaged and further drive new product development in the sector?