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A Look At Alternative Snacks

Snack, cereal and energy bars continue to be the most-released new snack products in the United States, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database. In 2012, this segment accounted for one in every five new snack products launched, outpacing nuts, fruit snacks, and wheat and other grain-based snacks, which ranked second, third and fourth, respectively.

As of May 3 of this year, snack, cereal and energy bars were once again leading new snack product launches, as has been the case from 2010 through 2012. However, the segment is seeing a decline in new products this year compared to last. Just 17 percent of new product releases were classified under this segment as of May, a 2.95-percent decrease vs. 2012.

Manufacturers are apparently not "nuts" about debuting new nut products. Nuts exhibited the second-worst decline in launches of 2.11 percent thus far this year, compared to the year-ago period.

Conversely, corn-based snacks are enjoying the largest year-over-year increase in launches of 2.4 percent. As of May 3, corn-based products accounted for nearly 12 percent of new snack launches, placing second only to snack, cereal and energy bars.

Many snacks — particularly alternative snacks — are sold with nutritional claims attached to them. Chicago-based research firm Mintel surveyed 1,424 Internet users aged 18-plus and asked them why they consume performance foods. The results revealed that 59 percent of consumers want foods purported to have energy-boosting benefits. Foods carrying labels boasting vitamins and minerals, high protein and low fat also resonate with consumers.

— Mintel

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