As snack bars play a more central role in consumers' daily eating habits, Ciranda offers tips for tapping into what is expected to be a $12B market by 2027.

March 1, 2024

5 Min Read
Five tips for creating an irresistible snack bar


Snack bars of all varieties are playing a more central role in consumers' daily eating habits. Peek into the pantry of a Boomer or an American family with kids 6-18, or the school backpack of any Gen Zer, and you're likely to find them. In fact, three-fifths of U.S. consumers are eating snack bars at least once a week[1]. Snack bar sales in the United States are expected to surpass $12 billion in 2027, and the category is showing stronger annual growth than total cereals — a trend that is expected to continue, according to Innova Market Insights, "The Future of Snack Bars in the US 2023."

Yet, despite all of this market opportunity, with the snack bar category outpacing total cereals in market size trends, it has lagged behind cereals in new product development over the past two years.[2]  This points to untapped market potential for product developers and brands.

"We are seeing an uptick in product developers who are exploring the snack bar product category," said Tonya Lofgren, product manager for Ciranda, the premier North American supplier and innovator of certified organic, non-GMO and Fair-Trade food ingredients that create and inspire change. "It's a category that allows for significant ingredient and formulation creativity and sales upside. This is particularly true if product developers are mindful of the research showing what consumers want in their snack bars: healthy, functional ingredients."

Given current market trends, following are tips for creating a bar that will have strong market relevance and appeal.

Make it Healthy & Functional

Across all income levels, consumers believe food and beverage manufacturers should prioritize health.[3] And, four out of 10 consumers have become more aware of healthy snacking and look for healthier snacks, according to an Innova Market Insights 2022 report on healthy snacking. Nearly one-third of snack consumers have increased their consumption of snacks with added health benefits.[4]

For snack bars specifically, functional ingredients such as prebiotics, probiotics and CBD/hemp, will increasingly be added to bar formulations as consumer interest in these functional ingredients continues to grow.[5]

"We've worked with countless companies looking to strike this balance of ingredients that have health benefits yet maintain the flavor, texture and stability promised by a brand," said Lofgren. "This is not easy, but Ciranda's technicians have the experience and know-how to collaborate with our customers on creating their ideal formulation."

Reduce Sugar

As part of seeking out healthier snacks, consumers continue to move away from sugar.[6] But this doesn't necessarily mean they don't want sweetness – or the feeling of indulgence.

"In response to the sugar-reduction trend, Ciranda launched a line of organic and non-GMO reduced sugar syrups that don't sacrifice sweetness," said Lofgren. "They are made from agave and tapioca and can be used as a single syrup replacement for traditional syrups, or combined."

Add Fiber

There is increasing awareness among consumers about the health benefits of fiber and the different types, particularly whole food fiber, soluble fiber and prebiotic fiber.[7]

In fact, according to the Innova Category 2023 Survey[8], “high fiber” was slightly above “high protein” as the top claim to influence their purchase of cereal and energy bars.

“According to the USDA’s 2020-2025 ‘Dietary Guidelines for Americans[9],’ 90 percent of women and 97 percent of men aren’t meeting the recommended fiber intake,” said Lofgren. “An ingredient such as Ciranda's Organic Agave Inulin, a prebiotic dietary fiber, can help consumers increase the fiber needed in their diet.”

According to Innova, as gut health concerns increase, snack bars will increasingly focus on including prebiotics and probiotics and making claims around gut health.[10]

Consider Out-of-the-Box Flavors, Forms

Snack bars with traditional forms and textures will continue dominating the market. However, new product forms, such as bites, balls and minis, that still deliver the flavor and functionality of a snack bar are increasing.[11]

In addition to new forms, new snack bar flavors are expected to increase, although traditional flavors such as chocolate and peanut butter will continue to lead.[12] Coconut — offered by Ciranda either shredded or as oil, flour or milk — along with almonds, chocolate chips and dark chocolate are among the top ingredients for snack bars.[13]

Highlight "Plant-Based", "GMO-Free" and "Gluten-Free"

Overall, companies launching snack bars should clearly state the benefits of their healthy

ingredients in order to grab consumer attention. GMO-free is the top choice claim, followed by vegan and plant based.[14]

Ciranda offers a broad portfolio of plant-based ingredients needed to meet the varied demands of today's health-conscious, snack-bar consumers: gluten-free flours and starches; syrups and sweeteners; cocoas and chocolates; coconut products; liquid and powdered lecithins; and vegetable oils. They are available organic, gluten-free, Non-GMO, Fair Trade and kosher.

The company will sample two snack bars in its booth, #914, at Natural Product Expo West, March 13-15, 2024 in Anaheim, Calif.: Chocolate Crispy Granola Bar and Coconut Chocolate Chip Granola Bar w/ Inulin. The bars will feature Ciranda's tapioca and rice syrups, chocolate chips, coconut oil, agave inulin and shredded coconut.

To learn more about how Ciranda can help formulate snack bars, please contact [email protected].

[1] "The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights. Innova defines snack bars as cereal-based bars, diet bars, energy bars without a sports positioning, fiber bars, fruit and nut bars, granola bars, meal replacement bars, muesli bars, protein bars without a ports positioning, snack/treat bars, soft-baked bars and trail mix bars.

[2] "The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights

[3] Innova Market Insights Survey, July 2023

[4] Innova's Market Insights report, "Healthy Snacks Trends in the US 2023"

[5] "The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights

[6] "The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights


[8] Innova Category 2023 Survey

[9], p. 144.

[10] "The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights

[11] "The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights

[12] The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights

[13] "The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights

[14] The Future of Snack Bars in the U.S.", Innova Market Insights

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