Inclusions, such as nuts, dried fruits, and baked ingredients, have long been used to add diversity to snacks. Today however, they are increasingly used as premium elements to provide consumers with new and creative snacking experiences.
Kathy De La Bastide, Group R&D Manager for Chaucer Foods has observed that consumers want and expect an ‘experience’ when they pay more for a product, including surprising textures, new flavor profiles and a visual appealing presentation.
Prior to COVID-19, novel and adventurous inclusions were helping food manufacturers deliver these new sensory experiences. Now, she believes that brands may see consumers return to comfort and familiar ingredients. This will put even more emphasis on the well-established trend toward natural, clean-label inclusions and healthier snacking.
Here are three trends R&D teams should keep in mind when formulating with inclusions for new snack products:
Emphasize natural ingredients and simple labelling
Healthy and functional ingredients, as well as an ethical and clean label story, can help support a product’s premium status. For product developers, this means a greater focus on inclusions that are recognizable on the label, as well as ones that are produced from sustainable sources. Food manufacturers are also increasingly seeking out ingredients that reduce the need for artificial preservatives, while also adding unique flavors, texture, and/or nutritional benefits to enhance consumer appeal.
"Look for inclusions that can offer health benefits without sacrificing taste or texture,” adds De La Bastide. “Baked inclusions are ideal for snack products because they are minimally processed and can be tailored to a range of different flavors and formats to suit a variety of application needs.”
Don’t shy away from indulgence
Despite the focus on healthier options, indulgence still has an important place within the snack market. Consumers often view the occasional indulgence as an important aspect of self-care. According to Mintel’s March 2020 report1 titled “A Year of Innovation in Salty Snacks & Fruit Mixes,” 73% of U.S. consumers agree that indulgences are permissible as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Inclusions are often a much welcomed bonus in sweet goods like ice cream or candy. For consumers who prefer healthier snack options, they add a small dose of indulgence and a guilt-free way to satisfy cravings.
Consider new and emerging diet trends
According to Mintel1, 16% of all snack launches in North America featured a vegan claim in 2019, up 4% from 2018. As consumers around the world increasingly strive to have healthier and cleaner diets, product developers can expect a growing interest in plantbased, vegan, keto, and even paleo snack options.
“It’s important to consider current and emerging diet trends when sourcing inclusions for new and existing products,” notes De La Bastide. “Natural, plant-based, and cleanlabel inclusions are going to make products more permissible and accessible to the majority of consumers, including those with specific health and wellness goals in their diet preferences.
For product developers looking to align their products with these trends, Chaucer’s sweet and savory baked ingredients offer the perfect solution.
Chaucer’s baked ingredients are shaped, dried versions of authentic bakery recipes that can be used as inclusions or toppings for a wide variety of products – everything from meals and snacks to dairy and confectionery. Sweet and savory baked ingredients are available as stand-alone snacks, inclusions, crumbs, coatings, and toppings to give food manufacturers even more versatility in innovating new products or refreshing existing product lines.
Check out more inspiration for formulating with baked ingredients, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a sample or more information.
1“A Year of Innovation in Salty Snacks & Fruit Mixes,” Mintel. March 2020.