Globally, consumers are snacking more frequently than ever, listening to the health gurus who contend eating smaller meals more frequently every day is healthier than the traditional daily three squares. In fact, snacking between meals was at an all-time high in 2015 with two-thirds of adults claiming to often snack between meals, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.
And while we seem to be a nation of snackers, concerns over health and wellness are impacting our snack choices. As noted in the “Sweet Baked Goods: U.S. Market Trends" report, 30 percent of Americans claim to usually only snack on healthy foods, and 45 percent claim nutritional value is the most important factor in the foods they eat. Yet even as consumers want to be healthy, there’s a desire to indulge in treats they know aren’t good for them—though when possible they want and seek out healthier or better-for-you versions of their favorite treats.
This desire has been a key driver for growth in the packaged sweet baked goods sector, which includes shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen products, as well as segments that include cookies, cakes, pies, bakery snacks, doughnuts, muffins, pastry/Danish/coffee cake, cheesecakes and toaster pastries/tarts. In fact, Americans forked over $20 billion in 2015 for cookies, doughnuts and other sweet baked goods. What’s more, the sector is forecast to grow to $23 billion by 2019.
In light of increasing consumer demand for less caloric, healthier and “natural" products, sweet baked goods manufacturers have responded with products formulated to reduce sodium, sugar and fat, eliminate high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and trans fats. Formulators are using versatile ingredients that not only are easy to integrate into sweet baked goods, but also deliver specific and reliable health benefits. New product launches include those that are more natural, GMO-free, organic and gluten-free, or include more beneficial ingredients such as whole and multi-grains, fiber, seeds and fruit.
“The market is mature with growth challenged by health and diet concerns, changing snacking choices and an increasing desire for fresh rather than packaged foods. But there are opportunities for growth as consumers snack smarter even when indulging by choosing sweet goods designed for ‘grab and go’ snacking or products designed to minimize calorie count without overtly sacrificing the flavors familiar to customers," said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts.
Whether indulgent, healthy or somewhere in between, creative new formulations and technologies are keeping sweet baked goods that don’t skimp on taste or texture close at hand. So making indulgent snacks better-for-you is worth the effort. What’s more, with today’s ingredients, tackling the biggest concerns—sodium, fat and sugar—is more practicable than ever. Interested in finding out more about ingredients to help formulate sweet baked goods? Visit SupplySide Storefronts to explore leading suppliers in this category.