mom and child snacking

Better for You Snacking: Trends and Opportunities

Better-for-you snacking is on the rise in Europe. Check out the trends and opportunities ahead.


  • Consumers globally have increased their consumption of better-for-you snacks.
  • Healthy is the top attribute for breakfast, morning, dinner, and children’s snacks.
  • A healthy snack has less of the “bad” ingredients and more of the “good.”
  • Protein, fiber, and functional ingredients influence consumer snack purchases.

What Makes a Snack Healthy to Consumers?

Nearly one in three consumers globally have increased their consumption of snacks with added health benefits in the past year.1  Consumers cite healthy as the most important attribute in a breakfast snack, morning snack, and dinner snack (and in a children’s snack).2 In Europe, the top reasons consumers are reaching for healthy snacks is to keep a balanced diet and to feel better.3

This growing awareness of the role snacks can have in supporting health and nutrition is a call to action for brands to develop better-for-you snacks that address their needs. So what makes a snack healthy to consumers?

woman looking in store

When deciding what defines a healthy snack, consumers consider what’s in the snack, as well as what’s not. 41% of consumers globally think a healthy snack is one with no additives or preservatives (making this the top attribute), while 31% think no/low/reduced claims (e.g., for fat, sugar, and salt) makes a snack healthy.4

However, 30% of consumers think high in protein, fiber, vitamins, etc. makes a snack healthy, with many consumers willing to pay more for health beneficial ingredients.5 More than one in four consumers believe products with functional ingredients to boost physical health are worth paying more for (one in five consumers for ingredients to boost mental health).6

Top Better-for-You Snack Fortifications for European Consumers

Among European consumers, the most important better-for-you fortifications in snacks are protein, fiber, and functional ingredients.

High In/Source of Protein

9% of consumers in Europe are influenced by protein claims on both sweet and savory snacks.7 Cereal bars, chips, puffs, popcorn, and cookies are just a few of the snacks showing up with high in or source of protein claims. Protein continues to be popular for providing satiety and supporting general health and wellness. 

bowl of chips

High In/Source of Fiber

Fiber claims are similarly important to consumers’ purchasing decisions when buying snacks, influencing 11% of consumers for sweet snacks and 10% for savory snacks.8 Fiber also offers satiety benefits (which can help with weight management)—plus it supports gut health. Emphasizing the gut health benefits of high fiber snacks remains a largely untapped opportunity. 

Functional Ingredients

Snacks with functional ingredients are also grabbing consumers’ attention. 7% of European consumers consider functional ingredients when buying sweet snacks, while 6% do for savory snacks.9 Currently, improving sleep is the most desired function of a food or beverage for consumers globally (23%), followed by improving gut/digestive health (22%).10

Better-for-You Ingredients

With health on consumers’ minds, snacks that can offer consumers the indulgent and comforting snacks they crave—but with extra benefits—will be poised for success in today’s snack market. 

Formulating better-for-you snacks starts with better-for-you ingredients, whether it’s a nutritious dairy protein for a decadent, low-sugar chocolate protein bar or a functional ingredient like tryptophan for an all natural sleep shot beverage.

Our expertise and offerings in bioactive ingredients, custom premix solutions, and functional proteins for sweet and savory snacks, bars, and beverages can help you transform your products into the better-for-you options your consumers are seeking. 

To learn more, contact Glanbia Nutritionals.


1-10. Innova Market Insights, Next-Generation Snacking: Exploring the Global Landscape of Better-For-You Sweet vs Savory, July 2023.

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