The food industry as a whole is expecting a whole slate of new consumer trends to take over in 2019, guided by changing consumer preferences. The snacks industry, in particular, is expecting major changes in trends that are likely to have a sizable impact on 2019’s snacks, including their packaging decisions, nutrient ratios and more.
Experts say that these trends are as a result of customers being more demanding now of brands to disclose their snack-making processes, right from sourcing to manufacturing. Many customers are also keener on healthy snack brands these days as diets and healthy eating grow more popular.
Below, we identify the snack trends that are expected to take shape as 2019 unfolds.
Single serving snacks
The snacks industry had some trouble when healthy eating first caught on, as customers started inspecting each snack’s nutrient rations to discover how many calories were in each serving.
Consumers in 2019 are more cautious than ever, and as such, larger snack packages with lots of servings now pose a challenge, because they trigger overindulgence. That’s why snack brands are incorporating single serving snacks in their arsenal.
Major candy manufacturers such as Spangler Candy Co. are already applying the single-serving technique by resizing their packages to offer smaller product sizes that fit one serving, such as 1 oz. and 2 oz. snack packages, without altering the taste and flavor.
Consumers have always preferred ‘grab and go’ snacks, the kind that can be purchased and consumed in a flash without having to see how many calories they have. With the single serving technique, brands expect to stay ahead of the demand curve by creating more ‘grab and go’ products that consumers already know are of a particular serving, usually the ‘one serving’ range.
The interactive experience is expected to make a major comeback to the snacks industry in 2019, especially for children’s snacks, as brands look to capture and retain the attention of younger customers.
There are so many candy and snack brands on the market today, so standing out is a daily uphill battle, especially for smaller brands. All the usual markers of uniqueness for most brands, such as taste, color, product name and package design have become harder to use for attracting customers, all while attention spans are getting shorter in younger audiences.
Brands are looking at interactive experiences as a good way to draw these customers back, using the promise that it’s more than just a snack. The interactive experience usually involves additional items that come along with the snack the customer has built, mostly for entertainment, educational purposes or a combination of both.
The best example is that of PISSA, the international manufacturer that’s already fitting their candy with an educational watercolor painting kit that uses edible watercolors and candy painting brushes.
Butters derived from seeds
One more trend that’s expected to take over the snacks industry in 2019 is related to seed butter, or the increased supply of it, to be exact. In what appears to be an extension of the healthy eating trend, brands are looking to offer their increasingly health-aware customers more than just healthy seeds for consumption, but their butter too.
Seed butter won’t be new to the industry; different varieties have been teased in the market from time to time, mostly with limited fanfare. So far, of the few seed butter varieties on the market, only sesame butter (also sold and known as tahini butter) has seen considerable traction worldwide.
Brands are still hopeful, though. More seed butter varieties such as pumpkin butter, watermelon butter and sunflower butter are expected to hit the market in 2019.
Manufacturers are counting on the replication of the success that nut butter (almond, cashew, etc.) saw in 2018, as they hope nut butter introduced consumers to the idea of more seed butter varieties.
The meatless movement
The ‘less is more’ mantra is coming for the snack industry, this time with specificity to meat and dairy. Experts predict that more meatless snack products are going to hit the market than ever before, most of the alternatives to already existing snacks such as burgers, chips and cheeses.
There is going to be more innovation by brands as they try to incorporate more plant-based nutrients into their snacks, such as algae, seeds, lentils and more.
With this development, brands are responding to growing consumer demands that include healthy consumption, diverse food choices and better sustainability.
Thanks to the growing popularity of healthy eating, more and more customers are getting interested in healthier food choices. At the same time, consumers now prefer snack brands with more sustainable lines of production. Other consumers are simply looking for alternative foods to diversify their plates, preferably plant-based snacks.
Some snack brands are already ahead of the curve, but you can expect to see more of meat-free burgers, dairy-free cheeses and snack bars on sale as they year unfolds.
Focus on fresh
Healthy living and consumption is going to be the biggest trend driver for 2019 in the snacks industry, even influencing as far as the chilled sections of supermarkets. Experts are already looking at fresh and chilled snacks as another trend that will rock 2019.
This trend has already started to take shape, as more and more retailers dedicate more space to fresh and chilled snacks. Other snack brands are expanding their offerings by creating and offering new different snacks for different eating moments during the day.
Others are offering more family-oriented snacks, while some brands are working to improve the nutritional content of all their snack offerings.
The snacks industry is expecting its own shakeup as new trends take shape for 2019. The five trends we’ve listed above have been decided by experts on the workings of the snack industry, so they are worth every brand’s time. Competition in the snacks industry gets stronger by the day, so smaller snack brands in particular need to stay ahead of the year’s curves to compete favorably with their bigger counterparts.