The pandemic has impacted where individuals snack
The pandemic has impacted where individuals snack, but the occasion has continued to thrive at home, with many reverting to it more often. Tara Bane, EMEA marketing manager at Glanbia Nutritionals looks at the cultural shift throughout 2021.
Snacking has always been a part of the consumer diet, but research suggests it is becoming more prominent. There are several factors contributing to the increase in snacking:
• A cultural shift towards frequent and more regular snacking, especially during the pandemic;
• New time pressures and the upending of usual food rituals.
The sheer diversity and accessibility of cuisines and foods has also sparked interest for consumers who are keen to develop their palate and satisfy their curiosity. Additionally, eating a healthy balanced diet to support and enhance consumer wellness has been a huge driving force.
The power of proteins
Snacking and nutrition have become more important to consumers who are valuing products offering health benefits.
Protein-rich snacks are key, with 51% of global consumers stating they’ve switched from traditional snack products, like chocolate, to high-protein/low sugar alternatives. Millennials, in particular, are driving this interest in high-protein snacks that provide satiety and work well as meal replacements.
The bar category continues to be strongly affected by this trend, with protein bars leading category growth. Of global snack bar launches in 2020, nearly one in three featured a high-protein claim.
It is no surprise that the global health and wellness snacks market is forecast to reach $98bn by 2025, according to Euromonitor .
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Demand for healthier products is substantial and includes the ‘conscious indulgence’ movement that is consistently gathering momentum and shaping preference.
According to FMCG Gurus’ Top Trends for 2020 report, 64% of global consumers believe indulgent snacking is acceptable as part of a healthy diet, while 54% indicate they expect snacks to offer a nutritional boost.
Consumers clearly still crave decadent treats, but many are seeking to ensure that snacks include nutritious elements. Furthermore, there is an emerging interest in products with calming, focus-enhancing and energy boosting ingredients providing and supporting greater mental wellness. This trend spiked throughout the pandemic as many consumers were unsettled and felt anxious.
We will continue to see this trend gather momentum as mental health is becoming more important in consumers’ lives.
To satisfy consumer demand and the ever-changing shift in trends, companies need to stay agile and constantly invest in research and development to stay competitive. One such company to help in this quest is Glanbia Nutritionals, which is well positioned to offer expertise in R&D, insights, product management, sales and operations.
For example, our Insights team found that while the plant-based protein segment is considered a niche market in comparison to dairy-based protein, consumer interest and demand is growing exponentially, attributed to diet diversification, increased consciousness of sustainability, animal welfare issues, and allergen avoidance.
Here, Glanbia Nutritional’s BarHarvest Pea Protein comes to the fore. It’s an allergen-free, gluten-free, kosher protein fortification that is designed to improve the shelf life, moisture and soft texture of bars, cookies and other baked goods. And while plant-based is trending, UK and Irish consumers still choose dairy and whey as their preferred sources of protein: another challenge answered by Glanbia Nutritional’s functional whey protein concentrate solutions OptiSol 1005 and 1007 that are extremely heat stable, even in high processing conditions such as UHT and Retort.