Q&A: Balancing Demands for Functional, Crave-Worthy Snacks

July 2020

To create snack products consumers will crave, NPD teams need to be aware of the latest snacking trends and preferences.

We talked with Kathy De La Bastide, Group R&D Manager at Chaucer Foods, about what’s driving snack innovation today, and which ingredients can help NPD teams stay ahead of the curve.

1. What are the top trends you’re seeing in snacking today?

Consumers are snacking more than ever before, but they’re also putting more thought into their snack purchases, and seeking out products that align with their health and nutrition goals. As a result, we’re seeing an increase in demand for functional snacks, many of which leverage plant-based ingredients with naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients. We also know that consumers are seeking out “cleaner” snack options, and claims of no added preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colors or flavorings are increasing.

At the same time, there is a growing desire for new experiences, flavors and textures in snacking. Consumers still want to try fun and indulgent snack products, but they want to feel better about eating them. For product developers, it can be a challenge meeting demands for greater health and nutrition without sacrificing on taste or texture.

2. How can food manufacturers balance these demands in innovating new snack products?

Clean label inclusions have become more important in helping product developers elevate flavor profiles and achieve a crave-worthy texture and taste for their snack products. NPD teams can benefit from focusing on the natural ingredients and superfoods that can deliver on taste and nutrition, while also supporting a simpler label.

3. Chaucer recently introduced freeze-dried smoothie mixtures. How do they tie in with today’s snacking trends?

Freeze-dried smoothies can help manufacturers deliver products that meet consumer demand for functional, yet craveable snack options. Available in large and small pieces, as well as powder form, the freeze-dried smoothies are a versatile and flavorful product that can be used as an inclusion or as an ingredient to add nutrition, color and texture to a wide variety of food and beverage products.

There are endless application possibilities. Freeze-dried smoothie pieces, for example, add a pop of color and crunchy textures to snack mixes and cereals, or gooey pockets of fruit flavor in ice cream, frozen yogurt or other desserts. Smoothie powders can be used as an instant functional beverage mix, or as a filling or coating in bars. They can also add natural fruit colors and flavors to ice cream or fro-yo.

4. What nutritional benefits do freeze-dried smoothies offer?

Unlike other drying methods, freeze drying preserves an ingredient’s key nutrients. When we freeze dry our fruit smoothie mixtures, they retain their original nutritional value. We can also fortify our smoothie mixtures with probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals, or add other superfood ingredients to the blend, such as matcha and spirulina, for added nutrition.

5. What opportunities do you see for innovation with freeze-dried smoothies?

We see a lot of opportunity in the cereal category. Many brands are working to re-position cereal as an “anytime” food that can be consumed as a snack or dessert. Although indulgent flavors are on-trend, cereals also need to appeal to consumers that are looking for products with healthier, less-processed ingredients. Nutritional content is a primary concern, as well as current health trends like gluten-free, keto-friendly, paleo, and organic/non-GMO.

Chaucer freeze-dried smoothie pieces are a great way to add color, flavor, nutrition and even functionality to a cereal. Small smoothie pieces work well as an inclusion, and there is potential to use smoothie powders as a natural coloring or flavoring as well. As an all-natural, vegan and non-GMO ingredient, freeze-dried smoothies also sync well with the latest health and diet trends.

Whether you’re working on something new or reformulating to meet new snacking trends, our team can work with you to find a solution that adds value. Learn more about freeze-dried smoothies, or contact us today at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com.

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Contact a representative to find out how Chaucer Foods can help enhance your offerings and reach your goals.

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