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Where does the snacking market go from here?

Less sugar, more protein and an expectation for healthier/more natural products are a major influence on snack and food-to-go choices. So is demand for flavour innovation and new packaging formats. Products that embrace all these attributes are performing particularly well – these are the key points in a white paper by brand design agency Brandality.

In the cereal bar category, now a key feature of any snacking/impulse fixture, the most successful brands play to their strengths such as no added sugars, lots of natural/plant proteins and minimally processed.

Kantar Worldpanel puts the healthy snack bar market, including cereal bars, at approximately £365m, with more than half a million more shoppers buying into the category and a household penetration of 61%. Last year, Nielsen reported that 40% of consumers say they would expect to pay more for a premium, healthy and functional snack.

And in food-to-go, switched-on brands, retailers and cafés are offering a plethora of options ranging from vegetarian and vegan to free-from, organic, indulgent/premium and high-protein – not to mention a huge choice of light-bites from around the world.

Today’s consumers are more time-poor, less inclined to eat the traditional three meals a day, more likely to be better informed about all things nutrition, better travelled – meaning they’re more curious, and more likely to shop online – something that allows them to pre-plan snacking rather than only consuming impulsively.

The snacking and food-to-go categories can only continue to become more complex as brands and retailers strive to offer products that not only appeal to tastebuds, but also emotions, nutritional needs and consumer aspirations.

Adam Arnold (pictured), Founder & Creative Director at Brandality, believes health, wellness, flavour and indulgence will continue to be important, but he also expects more textured products such as carbonated drinks with added pulp, ice-cream with crunchy textures, juices with seeds and grains and more biscuit/savoury snacks hybrids.

“Turmeric, matcha and activated charcoal bring colour to products – something that also helps make them more social media-worthy – another important consideration for new products looking to grab attention in a crowded market,” he says. “We also expect more ethical (sustainably produced and packaged) products to hit the market.

“For a brand to succeed in this very competitive market place it must have authenticity and communicate with clarity. Those that are true to themselves and their brand’s core proposition will better resonate with consumers. And those who are transparent and shout about ingredients and their provenance will build consumer trust.

“But be aware, with so many brands leveraging the likes of free-from and high in protein, healthy attributes like these may soon no longer be an effective way to differentiate and create a proposition around. Gluten- and sugar-free, so what! Isn’t everyone?”

Download the full Brandality white paper here.

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