Consumers’ schedules fill up fast, feeding a growing demand for quick, on-the-go snacks to keep them healthy and energized during hectic days. Nutrient-packed food and snack bars can offer the perfect solution to fit in with these busier-than-ever lifestyles.
The current demand for cleaner labels has driven the functional food industry to create simpler products with fewer ingredients, and this trend is especially relevant within the bars sector. As Alison Raban, certified food scientist at BI Nutraceuticals, pointed out, companies have recently launched innovative bars with more recognizable ingredients and natural alternatives to meet this demand.
“One such space in which natural alternatives are flourishing is sweeteners," Raban said. “For instance, honey is more often being utilized as the primary sweetening agent in bars, which also plays into the low-/no-sugar trend currently happening."
“Superfood" ingredients will also continue to trend in the bar category, especially ancient grains and seeds such as quinoa, amaranth, sorghum, flaxseed and chia. Formulators will likely use more of these ingredients in the future because they boost bars’ nutritional content naturally, while also allowing companies to make gluten-free and clean-label claims, according to Marilyn Stieve, business development manager, Glanbia Nutritionals Ingredient Technologies. Superfood ingredients provide plenty of protein and fiber to bars; plus, they enhance the texture for a better eating experience. Many of them can also offer functional formulation benefits, such as viscosity, binding properties and improved shelf life.
For more of the current trends in food bar formulation, plus tricks to ensure product success, read INSIDER’s Digital Pulse “Bite into Bars."