Better for You Snacking: Trends and Opportunities

Better for You Snacking: Trends and Opportunities

Better-for-you snacking is becoming more mainstream, with major brands innovating to improve the nutritional appeal of their snacks. Here’s a look at the trends and opportunities ahead in better-for-you snacking.


Recent trends in better-for-you snacking include:

  • Protein fortification
  • Added nutrients
  • Sustainability 
  • More plant-based options 

Better-for-You Fortification

Beyond the basics like great taste, consumers are increasingly looking for health and nutrition benefits from their snacks, especially with COVID driving changes in consumers’ perceptions of health. One way this is showing up is with better-for-you fortifications.

High/Added Protein

Protein is a top trending fortification ingredient for snacks. Cereal bars, chips, puffs, crackers, yogurts, and oatmeal cups are just a few of the snacks showing up with high and added protein claims. Besides providing satiety and supporting an active lifestyle, snacks with protein fortification signal a healthy snack. One in four US consumers says high in protein is very important when choosing which snacks to eat or drink, with this criterion even more important among Millennials.1 In China, almost three in four adults believe protein can help improve immunity.2

High Fiber

High-fiber snacks also offer better-for-you benefits on multiple fronts. Fiber not only offers satiety, which can help with weight management, but it also supports gut health. Emphasizing gut health benefits of high-fiber snacks remains a largely untapped opportunity. In the UK, where 68% of consumers agree gut health is essential for overall wellbeing, only 20% have eaten foods that support gut health.3 Fortifying with prebiotic fibers to support a healthy immune system represents another opportunity.

bars and nuts

Added Vitamins and Minerals

More than one in ten US consumers say added vitamins/minerals is very important when choosing snacks.4 This interest is even more prominent among Millennials and households with kids.5 Since the COVID outbreak, sales of multivitamin-mineral supplements have soared in the US and China, indicating foods and beverages with added vitamins and minerals will also hold strong appeal. Snacks can be fortified with a custom nutrient premix for general health support or specifically for immune health.

Better for You, Better for the Planet

Snacks positioned as both better for you and better for the planet are also on the rise. The percentage of global better-for-you snack launches with a sustainable claim doubled in the past three years, although from a small base.6 Using sustainable packaging or ingredients are approaches to making products more environmentally friendly.

Sustainable Packaging

Nearly one in ten US consumers say sustainably/minimally packaged is very important when choosing their snacks.7 This is even higher among Gen Z and households with kids.8 For snack foods, sustainable packaging can range from recyclable to compostable to renewable packaging materials. Even using a percentage of renewable raw materials in the package signals the product is better for the planet.


Plant-based snacks stand out as more environmentally-sustainable, as well as healthier. Product claims are an important way for brands to emphasize both benefits. Beanito  chips are “deliciously filled with plant nutrition, and with the power to keep the soil and planet happy,” while Plantifull jerky is “good for you, good for the planet.” Innovation to provide realistic meat flavors and textures such as plant-based “pork rinds” and chips with vegan maple bacon flavor are ramping up.


Better-For-You Ingredients

With health on consumers’ minds, brands 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 they’re planet-friendly plant proteins, protein rich dairy proteins or vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system. Our functional proteins, like BarPro® 120 milk protein concentrate, provides a more desirable result during extrusion compared to typical proteins. While our Crunchie™ Milk Protein Bites are semi-finished extruded pieces that are ideal for use as snack. These innovative proteins along with our premix solutions can transform your snacks into the better-for-you snacks consumers are seeking.


1. The Hartman Group, Snacking 2020, January 2021.
2. Mintel, A Year in Innovation in Bars, May 2021.
3. Mintel, Better for You Snacks, February 2021.
4-5. The Hartman Group, Snacking 2020, January 2021.
6. Mintel, Better for You Snacks, February 2021.
7-8. The Hartman Group, Snacking 2020, January 2021.

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