Busy consumers are looking for the convenience of on-the-go nutritional food and beverages, which makes the snack category a natural on-the-go solution. The demand for “snackification,” including portability, convenience and satiety of products, is driving the healthy snack market, and heavily influencing the development of new on-the-go products that attract consumer attention and capitalize on market share.
Whether a brand is an established player in the on-the-go nutrition category or looking to enter the game, it should consider these market dynamics:
Understand the marketplace. According to GlobalData, the global market for savory snacks is expected to grow from US$94.5 billion in 2015 to $138.2 billion by 2020. Data from SPINS showed puffed snacks and probiotics are leading the growth in the US$20 billion on-the-go “shelf-stable chips, pretzels and snacks” category. Bite-sized bars and refrigerated bars also are making inroads in the bars category, with sales increases of 20 and 60 percent, respectively. In terms of beverages, shakes and shots also are mainstays in the on-the-go nutrition segment. Interestingly, snacks and bars are mentioned at least 25 times more often than shots in U.S. trademarks every year. The trend for snacks, bars and shots seems to continue for 2018, with mentions in trademark goods 839, 753 and 29 times, respectively, in the first quarter of 2018.
Identify the target market. Nearly 95 percent of Americans snack at least once a day, while nearly half reach for snacks two to three times a day. With snacking occasions on the rise, consumers are looking for healthier options made with recognizable ingredients. According to the Hartman Group, key drivers of snacking nutrition include refueling after exercise (48 percent of consumers), maintaining alertness (45 percent) and sustained energy (41 percent), and manufacturers are rolling out myriad products that provide on-the-go solutions.
Efficacy will make or break a product. Product developers and brands must be mindful that health-conscious consumers want portable products that not only taste great but include efficacious levels of functional ingredients. In addition to workhorse ingredients such as protein, fiber and probiotics, several functional ingredients are appearing more frequently in products largely due to the benefits they offer. Turmeric use is on the rise, and collagen is popping up several categories. Dates are becoming more prominent as an ingredient, especially in nutritious plant-based products.