When it comes to snacks, people crave novelty. They want to try something indulgent, different and exciting, but they also want to know it’s good for them.
Large numbers of consumers in northern Europe and the USA are switching a main meal for a snack or mini meal. Breakfast is a great example. People, especially the under 35s, are skipping a traditional breakfast all together in favour of a breakfast bar, smoothie or piece of fruit.
Whilst pack sizes are shrinking in Europe and Asia in order to curb consumer calories, in the USA they are getting bigger, as snacks are now filling the void of main meals. Consumers are looking for a satisfying portion size.
In terms of flavour, we can’t seem to get enough of Asian tastes – Chinese flavours that mix sweet, salty and spicy, such as la tiao, and Japanese wasabi, miso and teriyaki. But other Asian cuisines are flourishing too from Thai and Vietnamese to Malaysian and Indonesian.
In Europe, naturalness is incredibly important – the cleaner the label the better – as is consuming ‘1 of your 5 a day’ fruits or vegetables. Organic options remain popular elsewhere, especially in Northern Europe and Scandinavian countries.
NPD teams are wanting to make positive claims, on pack, about health and nutrition, meaning pressure is on to source ingredients that fit the bill, but that also taste great and perform in their chosen application.
There’s also confusion about what a healthy vegetable snack looks like. A grape’s natural long-chain sugars are destroyed by the raisin making process, and a fried beetroot is no better or worse than a fried potato crisp. Not only is the ingredient itself important, but also the processes behind it.
Our freeze-dried fruits and vegetables make the perfect healthy, nutritious products and ingredients. Natural flavour and sweetness is preserved during the drying process – with no nasty additions – providing a clean ingredient that is a healthy alternative to fruit and vegetable crisps.