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Healthy Snacking Trends for 2022

The snacking landscape continues to evolve, prompting companies to wonder what’s next for snacking. Here’s a look at the healthy snacking trends ahead for 2022.

Highlights: 

2022 healthy snacking trends include: 

  • Snacks with no preservatives or additives  
  • Snacks with reduced sugar 
  • High protein options 
  • Bites, balls, and other new snack formats 
  • Snacks with functional ingredients  

The Top 5 Healthy Snacking Trends for 2022

Changing consumer habits as a result of the COVID pandemic have created challenges and opportunities that influence the snacking landscape. More time at home, the expansion of online and bulk shopping, concerns about rising food prices, and a new focus on healthier eating to stay well are just some of the factors affecting how consumers snack.

Throughout these changes, however, clear trends are emerging in snacking.

1. Clean Snacking

Consumers are looking for “cleaner” snacks. Even among traditional sweet and salty snacks, those with clean label attributes are perceived as healthier by consumers. Savvy snack brands are beginning to tap into this opportunity. Of salty snacks launched in 2020 in the US, one in five carried a no additives/preservatives claim.1 This trend is also showing up In the UK and Ireland, where more than one in four snacks launched between 2015 and 2020 featured this claim.2

2. Less Sugar

The less sugar trend is also making its way to snack foods. In the UK, one in three consumers look for low sugar when choosing a healthy snack.3 In Germany, 45% say low sugar is one of the most important factors when choosing healthy foods, and 55% think snack bars contain too much sugar.4 Of new bar launches in Europe in 2020, one in five featured a no added sugar claim,5 indicating brands are responding. Since COVID, a growing number of consumers have become more conscious of their weight, with 46% of global consumers planning to reduce sugar intake.6

3. High Protein

High protein snacks are in demand globally. One in four US consumers says high in protein is very important when choosing snacks,7 while one in four Japanese consumers believes a high protein claim makes a snack healthy.8 New product launches of high protein snacks and cereals are growing fast in Asia Pacific, increasing at a CAGR of 24% for the region, 37% for China, and 49% for South Korea between 2016 and 2020.9 Product examples include Keep’s Coffee Flavored Whey Protein Crispy Bar, Dr. You’s Protein Choco Ball with Whole Almond, and Labnosh’s  Protein Cookie Bar in Black Cookie & Cookies n Cream flavors.

Download our Protein Guide to learn what consumers want in protein products.

bars with puffs

4. New Formats

For snacks, new and exciting formats are a trending way to grab consumers’ attention. This includes bites, balls, and other miniature versions of traditional snacks. In the US, about one in three consumers say they’re interested in mini versions of snacks.10 For Millennial consumers, it’s nearly half.11 In Germany, 82% of snack bar users enjoy experimenting with new types of bars, and 61% would like to see more mini or bite-sized formats.12 Besides adding an element of fun, these formats also offer portion control.

5. Functional Nutrition

Snacks with functional nutrition represent the next frontier in healthy snacking. 76% of US consumers say it’s important that snacks offer health benefits (e.g., heart, weight, digestion, or immunity), while 73% say it’s important they help improve mental well-being.13 Snacks with immunity claims have been on the rise due to COVID, including those that naturally contain immune support nutrients like NUT-rition’s Immune Support Power Squares with nuts as a good source of vitamin E, zinc, copper, and selenium. Snacks with calming benefits may be next. 

Delivering on Health for Snacking Consumers

With healthy snacking becoming increasingly important to consumers, careful attention to nutrition and ingredients—without sacrificing the enjoyable experience consumers expect in a snack—will be essential to creating snacks that meet today’s needs. Download our Snacking Guide to explore more trends in snacking.

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References

1. Mintel GNPD, April 2021.
2. Mintel GNPD, February 2021.
3. Mintel, Consumer Snacking: Inc Impact of COVID-19 - UK - July 2020.
4. Mintel, Snack Bars - Germany, September 2020.
5. Mintel GNPD, December 2020.
6. FMCG Gurus, The Evolution of Snacking Habits over the Next Five Years webinar, August 2021.
7. The Hartman Group, Snacking 2020, January 2021.
8. FMCG Gurus, Japan Active Nutrition Survey, Q3 2019.
9. Mintel GNPD, April 2021.
10-11. Datassential, Snacking, November 2019.
12. Mintel, Snack Bars - Germany, September 2020.
13. The Hartman Group, Snacking 2020, January 2021.

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