The U.S. savory/salty snacks category grew 9.9% in 2020.3 This category includes meat snacks, popcorn, chips and extruded snacks, pretzels, cheese snacks, and other savory snacks. The top savory flavors launched globally since January 2020 include cheese, barbecue, beef, onion & sour cream, butter, mango, pork and ranch.4
Protein Snacks in High Demand
Growing consumer demand for protein is influencing categories throughout food and beverage. The demand for protein snacks is particularly strong with 1 in 4 U.S. consumers indicating “high in protein” as a very important attribute when deciding which snacks to consume. This is especially true for Millennial consumers.5 Consumers are seeking out protein snacks for a variety of reasons—including satiety, energy, muscle support, weight loss, healthy aging, and general nutrition.
The success of products like Quest protein chips shows how products that deliver the convenience and great taste of a snack along with the protein consumers are looking for can be a winning strategy for manufacturers.
Challenges in Formulating Savory Protein Snacks
To meet this growing demand for healthy salty snacks, protein fortification is an option more food companies are embracing. But this approach comes with certain challenges—particularly achieving protein targets without negatively impacting product flavor and texture. Fortifying with popular plant proteins that might have beany or bitter off-flavors can further exacerbate flavor challenges.
High Protein Seasonings Deliver Protein and Flavor
One ingredient innovation that can boost protein and ensure delicious flavor is XtraProTM Seasonings—a blend of protein, seasonings, and flavor that can be added to any salty snack to create a savory protein snack. These high protein seasonings come in both whey and pea protein options with a variety of flavors from which to choose.
XtraProTM Seasonings can be produced with a custom flavor profile or in standard protein chip flavors such as:
- Sour Cream
- White Cheddar
- Jalapeno Cheddar
- Ghost Pepper
- Garam Masala
- Coconut Curry