two girls snacking

What is the Next Trendy Snacking Product of 2022?

Snacking at home grew rapidly during COVID, with consumers seeking comfort and nutrition in a convenient format. See how the next trending snacking product of 2022 can meet these needs.

Highlights:

  • Consumers' love for indulgence combined with their interest in high protein snacks makes protein chocolate a trend to follow.  
  • Adding functional ingredients to salty foods like chips will give added benefits to an already beloved snack. 
  • Jerky and bars made from meat alternatives will offer consumers a snack they can feel good about. 
  • Regional products, like Icelandic Skyr, give consumers a chance to explore global foods while also getting protein and other nutrients.

America’s Favorite Snack Products 

Whether sweet or salty, healthy or indulgent, snack products play an important role in the daily diet of most Americans. Consumers reach for snacks as a treat, as an energy boost between meals, and even as an on-the-go meal replacement. Since COVID began, snacks have become especially valued for their comfort and convenience.

Market research firm Datassential did a deep dive to identify which snacks are the most loved by US consumers. For sweet snacks, research shows the top three favorites are ice cream, chocolate candy bars, and chocolate donuts.1 The favorites for salty snacks are potato chips, popcorn, and tortilla chips.2 Explore the latest healthy innovations in salty and savory snacks.

America’s Top 10 Favorite Sweet Snacks

Type of Snack Proportion of Consumers Who Like or Love
Ice cream 88%
Chocolate candy bar 83%
Chocolate donuts 71%
Fudge 69%
Graham crackers 69%
Caramels 65%
Mints 65%
Chocolate sandwich cookies 64%
Fruit snacks 64%
Vanilla wafers 64%
Source: Datassential, Snacking, November 2019

America’s Top 10 Favorite Salty Snacks

Type of Snack Proportion of Consumers Who Like or Love
Potato chips 84%
Popcorn 80%
Tortilla chips 77%
Cheese puffs 69%
Pretzels 69%
Cheese crackers 68%
Corn chips 66%
Saltine crackers 65%
Trail mix 64%
Baked chips 57%
Source: Datassential, Snacking, November 2019

Our Top 4 Picks for the Next Trendy Snack

To understand what’s ahead for snacks, Datassential offers a useful framework that shows how food trends tend to move through different stages. The stages of fogod adoption are identified as inception, adoption, proliferation, and ubiquity. Here’s a look at four snacks still in the inception stage—the earliest stage in the trajectory.

1. Protein Chocolate

Datassential reports 83% of US consumers like or love chocolate candy bars,3 while The Hartman Group notes 66% purchased chocolate candy for snacking in previous three months, in their January 2021 study.4 Research by FMCG Gurus shows consumers express great interest in chocolate/confections containing protein, with 73% saying a high in protein claim is important.5 The combination of a beloved sweet treat with today’s top trending nutrient makes protein chocolate a snack trend to watch for 2022.

2. Functional Chips

Chips that deliver health benefits through functional ingredients can satisfy snackers on multiple levels. Chips hold the number one and number three spots as America’s favorite salty snacks, with 84% of US consumers saying they like or love potato chips and 77% liking or loving tortilla chips.6 Adding a functional premix that supports immune health or weight management can hold strong appeal to consumers as a better-for-you salty snack. 65% of consumers have purchased chips for snacking in the past three months.7

bowl of chips

3. Alternative Meat Jerky and Bars

More than half (55%) of US consumers say they like or love beef jerky, according to Datassential’s research.8 At the same time, alternative proteins are trending as healthier and better for the environment. Alternative jerky and bars made with plant proteins, fungal proteins, or even insect proteins offer a savory, hearty snack option that consumers can feel good about. Bars, in particular, are a format that’s seen high growth recently.

4. Skyr

The traditional Icelandic yogurt skyr is well-positioned to be the next Greek yogurt. Skyr contains up to twice the protein of Greek yogurt, has a thick and creamy texture, and contains probiotic cultures that so many consumers are seeking for healthy immunity during the pandemic. Choosing skyr as a snack also taps into consumers’ interest in global culinary exploration.

Ingredients for Snacks that Satisfy

Our top picks for the next trendy snack product offer consumers an indulgent sensory experience with health benefits beyond those of traditional snacks. Look for this to become a growing expectation as more consumers seek out the best of both worlds in their food and beverage choices.

Our snack solutions can help you boost the health profile of consumers’ favorite snacks—including confections, bakery products, chips, crackers, extruded snacks, ice cream, and more. Choose from our dairy and plant proteins, vitamins and minerals, bioactive ingredients, or custom premix solutions for a blend unique to your product. We also offer sweet and savory flavors that will keep your consumers coming back for more.

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References

1-3. Datassential, Snacking, November 2019.
4. The Hartman Group, Snacking 2020, US, January 2021.
5. FMCG Gurus, USA – Country Profile Survey - May 2021.
6. Datassential, Snacking, November 2019.
7. The Hartman Group, Snacking 2020, US, January 2021.
8. Datassential, Snacking, November 2019.

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