Chobani has launched Drink Chobani
and Dannon has launched an Oikos beverage promoted as “protein on-the-go.”
These are making small ripples in the industry. According to Canadean, in the period of 2014 to 2015, per capita consumption of drinkable yogurt was up 7%. This
growth, the company said, is mostly coming from younger consumers.
There are several factors behind the
popularity of these drinks, according to
Mr. Vierhile: they’re re-sealable; they’re
low in sugar (about half that of a can of
soda), and they’re high in protein. In 2015
a Canadean survey revealed that 20% of
American consumers “always” check nutritional labeling for protein content; 26%
say the same about sugar.
“Protein’s star is continuing to rise ...
[so] the trend is bullish for yogurt, especially drinkable yogurt, which also has
strong potential as a portable snack,” Mr.
Yogurt’s not the only thing consumers are drinking on the go—squeezable
fruit drinks are coming to the forefront.
Companies in this category include GoGo
squeeZ, which has yogurt and apple products, and Munk Pack, which hit shelves in
the spring of 2015. Munk Pack’s oatmeal/
fruit products are marketed as a cereal
alternative, and the company is quoting
some gaudy growth numbers, citing 450%
growth in conventional grocery.
“Given the decline in boxed cereals, our
thesis was that busy consumers would increasingly reach for more convenient, yet
healthy, products,” said Michelle Glienke,
co-founder of Munk Pack. The products,
she explained, are resonating with both
adults and kids, as well as athletes seeking
These have potential, according to Mr.
Vierhile, though he admitted that pouch
packaging may not appeal to adults since
it has a perception of being used for baby
food. “It will be interesting to see if product marketers can change that perception,” he said.
“I think we’re just seeing the beginning
of drinkable snacks,” noted Mr. Jorgensen.
“I think we’ll see a lot of growth in them—
the formats make them very flexible;
they’re very convenient and portable. It
fulfills all the requirements and hits all the
right buttons for the trends we’re seeing.
And like popcorn, yogurt’s such a bland
start that you can add just about anything
to it. I predict that next up, we’ll see savory
yogurt flavors, which is a more traditional
way of eating yogurt.”
An increasing population and dwindling
food sources mean many forecasters believe consumers will be eating more insects in the future. A report out last year
from Persistence Market Research predicted that the global edible insects market will expand at a CAGR of 6% between
2016 and 2024.
This trend is already visible in the marketplace with more products on store
shelves. Bitty Foods’ Chiridos air-puffed
chips are made with lentil flour and cricket flour, and Six Foods offers Chirps “eat
what bugs you” brand cricket chips in
However, buggy snacks aren’t going to
be topping the charts just yet.
“There’s still a hurdle to get over …
More Trends to Chew On
[but] if it helps consumers be healthy they
might accept it,” said Mr. Rost. “It might
be generational—younger consumers
are more open to new flavors and types
of food, so I wouldn’t rule anything out,
though transparency is important.”
“This is very interesting from an ingre-
dient standpoint,” said Mr. Vierhile. “You
can use other types of protein—like pea
protein—that don’t have the baggage of
insect protein.” Additionally, “there’s a big
environmental case to be made for insect
protein,” he noted.
Meat snacks continue to grow at 3% annually, which exceeds bar growth overall, but
is down from the double-digit growth of
the previous two to three years. Consumer
demand for protein and savory products is
driving this. Companies are offering meat
snacks in unusual flavors and different
formats. Epic, for example, offers a meat
trail mix in bison-chia-bacon-raisin and
pulled pork-pineapple flavors.
Consumers are also seeking fiber so
grain-based bars remain popular.
Strong growth is coming from companies that are not in the top 100. These
smaller companies often have strong connections with Millennials, who are also
open to trying new products. Younger generations often aren’t as trusting of larger
corporations as their parents are, said Mr.
Seifer. Plus, sometimes Millennials just
want to feel they’re supporting start-ups.
Another check mark for these companies:
they’re usually U.S.-based, which appeals
to many consumers.
Products are also getting thinner and
crispier, such as Mary’s Gone Crackers’
Thins line and Open Road Snacks Sinfully
Thin popcorn. Even Wheat Thins, which
have been on the market for decades,
are now available as Wheat Thins Even
Thinner. They’re 14% thinner than the
originals and a person could eat 22 rather
than the former 16 for the same calorie
count. “With this, consumers are tricking
themselves, but in a very clever way—not
replacing things, just slimming things
down,” said Mr. Jorgensen.
Younger consumers are more open to new types of
food like insect-protein.
Munk Pack’s oatmeal/fruit products are sold as an
alternative to cereal.