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Balancing Act: Snack Trends Walk Tightrope Between Good for You and Good Taste

228_photo-1479658564437-7df9c111159eWith so much attention focused on the better-for-you foodservice trend, it can be easy to think satisfying, flavorful snack options have fallen by the wayside. Hungry for a taste of success in a wellness-oriented competitive environment, foodservice operators are on a quest to unwrap a winning formula for snacking satisfaction.

Snacking’s focus seems to have shifted from taste good to feel good. But according to the market research firm Mintel, snacking has become a balancing act for many U.S. consumers who are interested in flexible and balanced diets that leave room for the occasional treat.1 They want the freedom to enjoy snacks that satisfy a hankering on the one hand, and better-for-you options that meet wellness expectations on the other. Add snacks that combine both to the mix and foodservice operations just may have a recipe for snack sales success.

The good old days aren’t gone; they’re just more balanced between good taste and good-for-you nutritional content. What’s more, Mintel research reveals that taste is still tops when it comes to influencing consumer snack purchases.1 Taste makes or breaks a treat—and survey results show that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Three in four consumers surveyed choose cookies to satisfy their hankering for a treat.1

A World of Opportunity: Balanced Diet Trend Goes Global

The U.S. snack market isn’t the only one that hungers for balance. Two-thirds of Canadians who eat sweet baked goods consider it acceptable to enjoy them now and then without regard to their nutritional value.2 Forty-one percent of snackers in the United Kingdom agree that snacks that don’t fall under the better-for-you category are permissible as part of a balanced diet.2 And while 85% of Chinese consumers gravitate to better-for-you ice cream options, 76% expressed interest in less nutrition-oriented varieties.2

“Balance is the key word for successful new snacks,” Mintel reports. “Consumers want to indulge, but also want healthy options….Consumers may look for healthier options like vegetables or fruit for one snack, but allow themselves to eat chips for the next one. Looking for healthy indulgence in the same snack is also on trend with snackers choosing wholegrains, vegan, or Paleo snacks to satisfy snack urges while supporting good intentions.”3

Mintel views “permissible indulgence” as a guiding principle to help operators and manufacturers leverage the balanced diet snack trend. For the cookie category, the research firm offers a series of recommendations that could apply to other snack segments as well, from attention-grabbing textures and colors to upgraded ingredients and new flavors.

Other recommendations include thin and bite-sized portion-control formats, added nutrient density (high proteins, antioxidants, fiber) and craft, clean label and organic formulations.

From thin and whole grain selections to classic originals, Mondelēz International Foodservice can help your foodservice operation strike the right balance of snack varieties. Contact us below for custom solutions to your snack sale challenges.

1 Johnson, Patty, Permissible Indulgence a Key Opportunity for US Cookie Industry, Mintel Blog, Aug. 1, 2019

2 Zegler, Jenny, Global Food & Drink Trends 2018, Mintel (2019), p.7

3 Mogelonsky, Marcia, Snack Trends You Need to Know Right Now, Mintel Blog, May 16, 2019


Topics: Restaurant Operations, Snacking, Trends, Recipe

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