“Shelf-stable chips, pretzels and snacks” is a US$20.2 billion category, with 2.9 percent growth, but several subsets with a focus on improved nutrition show consumers want more than just a salty crunch to satisfy a craving. Puffed snacks offer a light and versatile base with room for a range of functional boosts, and SPINS data show puffed snack types growing at a combined rate of 5.4 percent, contributing 15.9 percent of the overall category’s growth.
Among puffed snacks, corn leads in total sales, with a growth rate of 5.1 percent over the past year (52 weeks ending Jan. 28, 2018). Puffed snacks made from multigrain bases (blends of corn, rice, or other ingredients like pea or insect proteins) report a higher growth rate at 8.5 percent (with most of sales attributed specifically to natural products, according to SPINS’ proprietary Positioning Group attribute). Vegan labeling is also up among puffed snacks, showing 199.2 percent growth. Product types with smaller market share, but faster growth rates include pork rind/meat snacks (12.2 percent), bean/lentil snacks (15.3 percent) and vegetable snack chips (47.3 percent).
Consumers also are looking for functional boosts to increase nutritional value, and manufacturers are abiding. Probiotics show sales gains of $2.9 million in the “shelf-stable chips, pretzels and snacks” category, representing 76.8 percent growth year over year. Protein marketing is another hot trend in this segment; products containing whey and milk protein saw 35.7 percent growth over the prior year, while plant-based pea protein grew 4.3 percent. Other ingredients reporting growth or emerging in this category include insect protein, maca, spirulina and turmeric. Consumers are also grabbing paleo-positioned products at a rate of 141.1 percent over the prior year.
Learn more about which portable categories are strong sellers in INSIDER’s On-the-Go Nutrition Digital Magazine.
Kimberly Kawa is a senior nutrition researcher at SPINS and has applied her nutrition background and passion for the natural products industry to the ongoing development of the SPINS Product Library. Her focus is in vitamins and supplements, and she identifies industry trends related to these segments.
Jessica Hochman is SPINS’ content strategist, driving content development across a wide variety of natural and specialty product topics. Her work in natural retail and her background in organics distribution help inform SPINS’ stakeholders on industry news and trends.