What are some trends you are seeing in healthy snacking? How has Glanbia been responding to these trends?
Consumers are looking for convenient, luxurious alternatives to their favourite snacking products – while still maintaining a healthy profile. Texture has become a great way for brands to differentiate their products on the shelves, especially in bars. Plant-based nutrition has also emerged in this category with many consumers looking for alternatives to animal-based ingredients.
Protein still maintains its healthy halo and as awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of protein continues to grow with mainstream consumers, protein fortification remains a high priority for our customers. It has proven challenging to incorporate high levels of protein in bars while still maintaining the texture consumers love over the course of it’s shelf life. We have been working with manufacturers to develop bar solutions for current market trend; for example, creating lighter, whipped, more aerated textures. In order to accommodate additional protein without sacrificing taste, we have had to innovate on adding protein to other aspects of the bar. Most protein fortification is in the dough layer of bars. However, we have developed technology that allows protein fortification into bar coatings and fillings, for example caramel or chocolate. Additionally, we have been working to develop protein crisp inclusions to add texture and protein. We also expect our innovation in crisps and eventually extruded snacks to have appeal to those consumer consumers that prefer more savoury, but healthy snacking options.
While traditionally, we would have focused on dairy protein, the rising demand for plant protein cannot be ignored. In one survey by FMCG Gurus in 2019, we saw that nearly 40% of UK consumers are trying or actively consuming plant-based proteins. We have put a lot of work extending our product portfolio to pea protein made specifically for European bar manufacturers, called BarHarvest™ Pea Protein. Thanks to our extensive experience in dairy proteins, we have transferred this knowledge to develop a range of plant proteins for bars, which provides a clean taste, great texture and a long shelf life.