Consumer interest in plant-based food and beverage shows no signs of slowing down. From flexitarian lifestyles to multicultural flavors, plant-based innovation continues. Snacking is embedded in consumers’ behavior and the pandemic increased snacking at home. According to NielsenIQa, 82% of consumers snack at home. Like other food and beverage categories, better-for-you plant-based snacks, healthy ingredients, and sustainable products are gaining momentum. According to Grand View Researchb, the global vegan snacks market reached $44.02 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $80 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 6.9%. Increased awareness of plant-based foods and changes in consumption habits are driving plant-based snack innovations that run the gamut from salty to sweet. From salty chips to fruits and nuts to indulgent treats, brands are developing better-for-you, plant-based snacks to meet the rising demand.
Evolving Consumer Snacking Behavior
Consumers’ snacking behavior is evolving as individuals look for better-for-you products, many of which are plant-based and sustainable.
- According to IRIc, 34% of consumers in the U.S. expect to spend more on Food & Beverage that’s “better for you.” 10% of U.S. consumers look for plant-based snacks “usually or always,” while 28% say “sometimes.”
- NielsenIQ’sa research showed that 42% of respondents claim that compared with 12 months ago their eating habits have become healthier.
- According to Mondelez’s State of Snacking reportd, consumers are seeking out snacks as a source of well-being, and not just from a physical standpoint. Consumers are looking for snacks to improve:
- Physical health (80%)
- Emotional health (80%)
- Mental health (75%)
- Social health (65%)
- According to Frito-Lay’s Trend Indexe:
- 78% of consumers are more likely to purchase products that invest in local communities
- 77% of consumers care about snack companies’ attention to sustainability practices
- 66% of consumers say purchasing sustainable food products is important
Trilogy Flavors offers a portfolio of vegan flavors designed specifically for plant-based products sure to satisfy consumers’ evolving habits. Request samples here.
Salty & Savory Snacks
Consumers enjoy traditional salty and savory snacks such as potato chips and popcorn. Mintel’sf data showed that 60% of snack consumers in the U.S. say they buy salty snacks as a treat. Like other food and beverage categories, consumers are looking for better-for-you snacks, and brands are responding with vegetable-based snacks and alternative preparation methods. New product launches from the snacks category featuring a plant-based claim grew +65% (Global, CAGR 2018-2020), according to Innova Market Insightsg. In addition, according to Innova Market Insightsh, 11% of new snacks introduced in 2022 held a vegan claim, compared to 6.7% the previous year.
According to Mintel’si research:
- 66% of U.S. consumers wish that there were more healthy snack options
- 42% of U.S. consumers are interested in chips made from healthier ingredients
- 36% of U.S. consumers would like salty snacks with antioxidants
Snack bars are another common snack purchased. Mintel’sj data revealed that consumers are interested in more savory snack bar options.
- 17% of U.S. consumers say that a savory flavor would encourage them to try a new bar
- 17% of UK snack bar eaters would be interested in snack bars with savory flavors
- 21% of German snack bar eaters expressed interest in savory flavored snack bars
Brands are formulating salty snacks with vegetables and legumes touting their nutritional value such as peas, chickpeas, beans, mushrooms, beets, and soy. As an alternative to fried snacks, brands are using healthier preparations such as baked and popped. Trilogy Flavors offers a wide variety of salty and savory flavors such as BBQ, Buffalo, Cheese, Dill Pickle, Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese, Nacho Cheese, Salt, and Sour Cream & Onion for many types of plant-based snacks. Request samples here.
Fruit & Nut Snacks
Fruits and nuts are inherently healthy due to their nutritional value including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. According to California’s Agricultural Statistics Review 2020-2021k, almonds are the number-one valued fruit or nut crop in California, totaling $5.6 billion in production value for 2020. There have been notable Increases in the production of pistachios (41%), almonds (22%), and walnuts (20%). Snack nuts accounted for $5.173 billion with a 1.2% increase in sales for the past 52 weeks ending on April 17, 2022, according to IRIl. This growth aligns with consumers’ interest in healthier snacks
According to Mintel’s i,m research:
- 36% of U.S. adults who eat chips would be inspired to try a new chip if it was made with all-natural ingredients
- 61% of U.S. consumers consider chips made from all-natural ingredients healthier than other chips
- 72% of adults in China look for snacks made with healthier ingredients
- 55% of snack consumers in Germany say they mostly try to buy healthy snacks
Furthermore, fruit snacks increased +9% and nut snacks +7% in global launches in 2021 vs. 2020n. Snack brands are taking notice and creating fruit and nut snacks emphasizing the inherent nutritional benefits. Recognizing sustainability is important, some snack brands are using upcycled imperfect fruit and vegetables to make snacks. Trilogy Flavors has a portfolio of popular nut flavors such as Honey, Roasted, and Salted as well as emerging flavors such as BBQ, Buffalo Wing, Chili Pepper, Chipotle, and Sriracha. For fruit snack flavors, Trilogy offers classics like Apple, Banana, Citrus, Coconut, and Mango and sweet flavors such as Cinnamon and Maple. Request samples here.
Sweet Snack Indulgences
In addition to salty and savory snacks, consumers enjoy sweet snacks such as cookies, brownies, and mini and bite-sized baked goods. According to NielsenIQa, 24% of consumers have a sweet snack to indulge. 41% of U.S. adults who have eaten any type of sweet baked goods usually eat them as an evening snack, according to Mintel o.
Mondelez’s researchd confirmed consumers have a sweet spot:
- 88% of consumers say “a balanced diet can include a little indulgence”
- 68% say “they could not imagine a world without a sweet treat during their day”
- 74% say they feel the same way about chocolate and 62% feel the same way about birthday cake
Trilogy Flavors is a resource for indulgent bakery flavors and chocolate flavors for snacks such as Caramel, Dark Chocolate, and Milk Chocolate. Request samples here.
Consumers Love Snacking
There is not doubt that consumers love snacking. Whether it is salty or sweet, consumers are snacking on a variety of products including chips, snack bars, fruits, nuts, and sweets. Consciousness of their health, consumers are turning to plant-based snacks, which are better for them and better for the planet. Consumers acknowledge that their snack behavior is changing. According to Mondelezd, 76% of respondents say they eat different snacks today than they ate three years ago and 84% imagine there will be more snack options to choose from in the next three years. Flavor is a constant driver regardless of the snack application or base. Frito Lay’se research found that given the choice, 59% of consumers are selecting innovative flavor combinations including sweet and salty, spicy and sweet, and tangy and salty. Let Trilogy satiate consumers’ hunger for plant-based snacks with our collection of vegan flavors.
f Kaczorowski, Mikolaj, “A Year of Innovation in Salty Snacks & Fruit Mixes, 2022” 18, February 2022, Mintel
i Moore, Samantha “Cactus: The Next Generation Plant-Based Snack” 22, May 2022, Mintel
j Jarocka, Honorata, “Make Savoury Bars Relevant To Snack Consumers” 13, June 2022, Mintel
m Apostol, Stefania, “A Year of Innovation in Salty Snacks & Fruit Mixes, 2021” 19, February 2021, Mintel
n Ng, Jolene, “The Future of Salty Snacks 2022” 1, March 2022, Mintel
o Walji, Amrin, “A Year of Innovation in Cakes, Pastries and Sweet Goods, 2022” 26, July 2022, Mintel