Global Trends in Sweets & Snacks Making Their Way Stateside
CHICAGO — The world is getting increasingly smaller. What's trending and successful in one part of the world can now easily spread to other regions.
During an education session at the recent Sweets and Snacks Expo, entitled "Top 10 Global Snacks and Sweets Trends for 2019," Mindy Herman of Innova Market Insights examined the latest trends from around the globe and discussed how they are transitioning to the U.S. market. Innova Market Insights is a global knowledge provider in the food and beverage industry.
According to the senior market analyst, the top global snacks and sweets trends are:
1. the Adventurous Consumer
Consumers love to discover new flavors, Herman pointed out. This is true of 66 percent of U.S. consumers, who cite that products with discover claims like "new" and "limited time only" and products boasting unexpected flavors heighten their appeal.
2. Plant Kingdom
Brands today are increasingly beefing up their "green" portfolio to attract mainstream consumers who want to add more green to their diets. Healthy snacking options are showing the fastest growth in new product development. "I don't need to tell you this category is blowing up," Herman remarked.
3. Alternatives for All
As health remains at the center of snacking innovation, smart claims are on the rise, such as "no sugar added" and "no artificial sweeteners" to showcase products' lower calorie count. Vegan isn't slowing down either as that claim experienced average annual growth of 31 percent, while alternative proteins like chickpeas, insects and brown rice are making their way into more and more products. "This shows that you can have health and you can have indulgence," said Herman.
4. Green Appeal
Two in three U.S. consumers expect companies to invest in sustainable business practices. Across the board, 54 percent of consumers said they are concerned about waste and pollution, as well as sustainability (52 percent), environmental impact (43 percent) and fair treatment of workers and employees (26 percent).
5. Snacking: a Definitive Occasion
Snacking multiple times a day is on the rise, as 63 percent of millennials are replacing meals with snacks; 50 percent of Gen Xers are more inclined to cut down on sugar consumption, so they choose healthier sweets and snacks; and 67 percent of baby boomers aim to snack healthier.
6. Eating for Me
Today's consumers are a finicky bunch when it comes to choosing what sweets and snacks are right for them. Product innovations that were most successful in meeting consumers' needs in 2018 were those boasting high protein (13 percent of product launches), plant-based (9 percent), keto (6 percent), and paleo and vegan (3 percent).
7. Fresh Eyes for Fiber
Fiber has new applications in confectionery and snacks. In the past year, products featuring fiber saw 24-percent growth in snack launches and 9-percent growth in confectionery launches. This is good news for the 44 percent of consumers who say they want to increase their fiber consumption, the 64 percent who say they are focusing on digestive health, and the 24 percent who are focused on weight management.
8. Feeling Good
Consumers say they snack for one key reason: holistic well-being. Snacking helps boost consumers' moods, provides them with comfort and clears their mind, Herman noted.
9. Smaller is Bigger
According to 38 percent of consumers, start-up companies' stories hook them, while social missions inspire them. This is a key reason major players are going small by launching new start-ups or investing in existing ones.
10. Making connections
Almost half of young consumers (43 percent) share pictures of what they eat online; therefore they are more interested in the experience confectionery and snack manufacturers can provide. Companies can take advantage of this by encouraging "fans" to partake in online flavor voting, or highlighting product transparency with QR and smart codes that link consumers to sustainable products online.
The 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo, hosted by the National Confectioners Association, took place May 21-23 at Chicago's McCormick Place West.