Growing consumer demand for more wholesome and nutritious snack options has led to a vast buffet of buzzwords for better-for-you offerings. As foodservice operators scan the smorgasbord in search of trustworthy morsels of information, it makes sense to demystify better-for-you snack-speak and read between the lines of the buzzwords.
As Jason Wright, group strategy director at marketing firm The VIA Agency, said: “There are so many new concepts out there that are better for you, and they’re all using different language to find their own niche.”1 While many food marketers and manufacturers use these words and phrases to distinguish themselves in the saturated wellness market, the effect can be just the opposite: a jumble of jargon that blurs the distinction between products.
“Limited edition” is an example of a popular buzzword that has lost its potency. Once considered a clear sign of superior quality, “limited edition” has become overused, according to 64% of participants in a Harris poll.2
Money on the Table
The stakes are high for foodservice operators looking to leverage better-for-you snack trends to feed their bottom lines. A survey by Datassential, a market research firm for the foodservice industry, showed that even though only a small percentage of Americans adhere to a specific diet, the vast majority are wellness-conscious when it comes to the food they consume.
41% of consumers surveyed said they are very careful about what they eat, while 44% generally try to eat healthy.3 As a result of the surge in wellness foodservice trends among consumers, more and more operators are recognizing the importance of well-being concerns in driving menu innovation. 37% of operators surveyed consider wellness highly important in menu design, while 46% view it as somewhat important.3
As America’s largest generation, with a purchasing power of $170 billion,4 millennials are a coveted target audience for wellness snack-speak. Their emphasis on “feel good” food (menu choices that make them feel good both physically and emotionally) signals a shift from a diet focus to a nutrient-centered approach. Quality counts more than counting calories. Menu buzzwords like “organic” and “natural” reflect this shift.
But while over 60% of consumers choose foods labeled “natural,” the FDA has yet to serve up a clear definition of it.5 And though the term “organic” is often considered synonymous with “natural” and taken to connote “nutritious,” it applies to a method of farming, without any relation to nutritional value.
The Buzz on Better-for-You Brands
Homemade nutritious snacks with handpicked ingredients may be impractical, but there are many alternatives with genuine better-for-you appeal. Available in a wide range of savory varieties, including beet with blasamic vinegar and sea salt, potato with spinach and gralic, and chickpea with gralic and herb, GOOD THiNS from Mondelēz International have no artificial colors, flavors or cholesterol. Véa crackers, also from Mondelēz International and free of artificial colors or flavors, are sure to satisfy the milennial hankering for bold global flavors. Véa varieties include Thai coconut mini crunch bars, Tuscan herbs world crisps, and other international-inspired selections set to debut in the U.S. this summer.
The connection between foodservice and the environment is another buzzword-rich theme for the millennial snack market. Buzzwords like socially responsible, eco-friendly, sustainable and their variants tend to resonate with them. In a study conducted by Pace University, 60% of millennials said they would even pay more for fair trade or environmentally friendly products.4
Mondelēz International’s “Call for Well-Being” takes a holistic approach to responsible snack manufacturing that merges personal wellness with the planet’s wellness, while also emphasizing community development and safety.
Any foodservice buzzwords that you think are helpful, overhyped or just plain misleading? Send word below.