In general, trial of new snacks is highly influenced by recommendations, ratings and reviews. Research shows that 37 percent of Millennials have tried a snack because of a social media post made by someone else. Retail dietitians, as trusted influencers, can regularly introduce shoppers to specific snack items, trends and recipes using social platforms and other media.
Shoppers are looking beyond the packaged snack aisle to functional snack foods found among fresh produce, prepared foods, the dairy case, bars and nutritionals, and center store’s canned poultry and fish. Popular attributes sought include protein, probiotics, natural fiber and omega-3s.
What Makes a Snack?
The type of food that constitutes a snack is up for debate. For instance, many consumers believe that a smaller portion of a food normally eaten at mealtime counts as a snack. Right-sizing portions to appropriate snack sizes is a key part of positioning convenience or on-the-go snack options. For example, prepared food departments can offer slider-size sandwiches or “snackwiches” featuring a minimum of 20 grams of protein, and snack boxes featuring a hard-boiled egg pop paired with dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
Healthy snack foods on the rise include fermented foods such as kefir and yogurt (cups and drinkable); snacking vegetables like crunchy, ready-to-eat mini cucumbers; dips, spreads and hummus made with avocado, beets, lentils, beans, chickpeas and other legumes; nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pistachios and almonds with and without bold seasonings like wasabi or sriracha; chia seed drinks and pudding; snacks made with ancient grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, teff and sorghum; crunchy roasted legumes, including soybeans and chickpea; and crisped and seasoned root and leafy vegetables such as beets, sweet potatoes and kale. All in all, snack foods are moving toward simple, whole-food ingredients that offer innovative flavor and function while delivering all the craveable indulgence of traditional snack foods.