DISCOVER THE 2019 DATA
“The role of snack food is changing in different ways in reaction to Americans’ desire for balance, portable snack foods and holistic wellness,” observes David Portalatin, NPD’s food industry advisor. “It’s no longer about depriving yourself of something you enjoy eating. Today, it’s about giving yourself permission to eat indulgent snack foods in moderation.”
That permission naturally extends to items like cereal bars, which are practically the definition of a portable snack, and, according to NPD, will be one of the snack items whose growth over the next five years will be driven by consumers older than 40, Gen Xers and younger Boomers.
In its 2019 “How America Eats: The State of the Snack Industry” research, IRI specifically points to snack and granola bars with Non-GMO and nutritional claims as meeting consumers’ wellness needs, while those without such claims fall into the “permissible indulgence” slot. The research also shows that snack and granola bars with grain and 100 percent natural claims were among the growth-rate “winners” when looking at categories across the store.
When it comes to variety, the market researcher notes, “It’s table stakes to have a benefit within the bars category — from protein to cheese to free-range chicken — [and] this year’s innovation delivered.” Examples included offerings from Purely Elizabeth (grain-free), Sonoma Creamery (cheese), One (Protein), That’s It (probiotics), Luna (gluten-free), and DNX (free-range chicken and grass-fed beef).
One snack bar brand, Kind, which shows up among the top manufacturers and brands in three out of the four snack/granola bar segments ranked by IRI, recently unveiled a Be Kind to Yourself platform highlighting self-care and healthy choices, which will run on national TV and across digital channels, as well as being promoted via email, field marketing and public relations. The first national snack brand to disclose added sugar content across its portfolio, the company has also hosted an educational pop-up to draw attention to the 100-plus sweeteners in popular snacks, and urged the food industry to more clearly disclose sweeteners and sources of sugar.
“Our longstanding belief at Kind is to craft snacks made with a nutrient-dense first ingredient, like whole nuts, whole grains or whole fruits,” says Mike Barkley, the company’s president and COO. “Through this new platform, we want to spark a dialogue and remind people to look at what ingredients are most prominent in their snacks.”
That level of nutritional and ingredient awareness is rising among snack bar consumers — even as they clamor for great-tasting products — and the grocery channel ignores this trend at its peril.