wellness at Daymon, a global consum-
Nothing But Fruit
ables retail consultancy in Stamford, CT.
“I think there’s a lot of room for bars in
this savory direction.”
The rise in savory snack bars is no sur-
prise. “Since snack foods are playing a
bigger role in our daily lives they are not
solely indulgent any more,” said the NPD
Group’s Mr. Seifer. “Health is playing a
much bigger role than it did, and as such
we’ve seen savory snack foods increase in
consumption, and at the same time, sweet
snacks have declined.”
The savory bar market may be heating up,
but fruit has also been gaining the spotlight.
KIND offers Pressed by Kind, four types
of bars that contain nothing but fruit (two
also contain vegetables/chia), and That’s It
has That’s It bars, which also contain just
Even though consumers are avoiding
Chipping Away At
sugar, the sugar in fruits is acceptable, said
Jordan Rost, vice president of consumer
insights with Nielsen. “Nothing is inher-
ently bad and consumers accept that fresh
produce is a good source of nutrients.”
Bars that are nothing but fruit also ap-
peal to consumers on another level, Mr.
Rost added: They have very few ingredi-
ents, so have very clean labels.
Bars aren’t the only area of the snack food
market witnessing innovation. Chip-like
products are on fire with an array of alter-
natives, as well as new flavors.
First, there’s pre-popped popcorn,
which has seen soaring sales for the past
four years. In October, sales had increased
17% over the previous year, up from 12%
the year prior, according to Nielsen.
NatureBox offers Pop Pops, which are
partially popped in two flavors; Open
Road Snacks has Poplets, which the company said“deliver a satisfying crunch and
a great corn center taste with more fiber
and less fat and calories.” In October, Ips
Snack launched Ips Pop popcorn that includes whey protein in two flavors.
In terms of flavor, consumers can find
everything from sriracha to sweet-and-sour buffalo and pineapple-habanero.
“Popcorn is a great vehicle for flavor,”
said Mr. Jorgensen. “It’s clean and simple
and it’s so easy to add interesting flavors
to it. It’s also a permissible indulgence.”
There’s a lot of innovation in the popped
chips market, too, he added, “and I think
they’ll be taking a lot of market share away
from deep fried potato chips.”
These products are made from a batter,
rather than a potato, so it’s easy to add fla-
vors, Mr. Jorgensen noted. “Every brand’s
portfolio needs to have a range of tradi-
tional through more adventurous flavors.”
This is so standard flavors ensure sales
and unusual flavors generate excitement
and help position the company as trend-
forward, he explained.
“The adventurous flavors are where
brands can run around in hopes of getting
a homerun that will turn into a perennial
favorite. It’s a relatively low risk way to innovate,” he continued.
In alternative chips, vegetable protein is
strong, appealing to vegans and vegetarians especially. And according to the NPD
Group, about half of adults said they’re
trying to get more protein into their diets.
Saffron Road’s Bean Stalks include bean
flour, green peas, red pinto beans, white
cannellini beans and potato starch, and
are available in sea salt, cheddar or barbeque flavors.
“With increasing concern over health
issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes,
pressure is growing on consumers to in-
corporate health and wellness concerns
when making snack choices, which is
helping alternative snacks like those made
from chickpeas gain traction,” explained
Another factor is that younger customers especially are more interested in health.
According to a 2016 Canadean survey, 57%
of consumers said health and well-being is
important, but for consumers aged 25 to 34,
that figure jumped to 65%.
Chic-a-Peas sells Baked Crunchy
Chickpeas in four flavors while other offerings come from Sensible Portions (
Veggie Chips and Veggie Straws) and Peeled
Snacks (Peas Please—organic puffed
snacks made with pea protein). Then
there’s Veggie Harvest from SunChips,
a Frito Lay brand. These are made from
dried yellow peas and claim to have 30%
less fat than regular potato chips.
“Natural varieties of salty snacks are
growing much faster than the category as
a whole,”said Mr. Rost.“People are finding
a way to have their cake and eat it too—
they want something indulgent but not
Convenience and portability are key elements of snacking today. Some manufacturers are capitalizing on this trend with
Savory bars have become popular as more
consumers try to avoid added sugars.
Plant-based proteins continue to appeal to
vegetarians and vegans.