woman snacking

What's New in the Snack Aisle for 2024?

A look at the 2024 snack trends—from exotic savory flavors to meat jerky makeovers—plus the opportunities ahead for brands.

Highlights

  • While consumers think anything can be a snack, they favor healthy snacks.
  • Consumers are buying snacks with functional benefits to address need states.
  • Exotic, regional, and other bold flavors are trending in savory snacks.
  • New types of jerky are being made from seafood, fruit, and vegetables.

Two in three consumers think that anything can be a snack.1 This represents a huge departure from the traditional distinction between comforting, indulgent tide-me-overs and pick-me-ups like chips, cookies, and bars and the heartier foods typically used for meals.

In Datassential’s keynote report on snacking, we are encouraged to “shed any preconceived notions about what makes a snack a snack” and to “let your creativity run wild, and push the boundaries of just what can be a snack.”2 This idea underscores the 2024 snack trends of new types of jerky, as well as the expansion in exotic savory flavors.

At the same time, of all the different types of snacks, “healthy snacks” have been experiencing the greatest consumption increases, with 34% of people globally consuming more healthy snacks over the past year.3 While creative approaches to flavors, formats, and what a snack can be are essential to innovation, healthy and better-for-you formulations are foundational to the future of snacking. 

woman eating chips

2024 Snack Trends to Watch

1. Functional

Functional benefits in snacks is a trend right at its inception phase, according to Datassential.4 Beyond consuming snacks as a treat or to satisfy hunger between meals, more consumers are using snacks to address a specific need state like energy or even immunity.

Globally, 32% of consumers increased their consumption of snacks with added health benefits over the past year.5 Snacks with functional Ingredients to support energy or sleep, for example, give consumers an easy way to address their needs on demand. Other key ingredients are fiber and probiotics for gut health and protein for weight management and muscle support.

2. Flavor Forward

Savory snack flavors are going bold and exotic this year. Expo West 2024 showcased a variety of Korean cuisine flavors, including some in snacks like kimchi potato chips and wasabi seaweed chips. The Nexty Award winner for a savory or salty snack was pickled jalapeno “cactus sticks”(made from amaranth and cactus powder).

Meanwhile, the limited time offering (LTO) action continues in savory snacks with Lay’s potato chips in regional flavors: West Coast inspired Crispy Taco, Midwest inspired Fried Pickles, and East Coast inspired BLT Sandwich. A SunChips LTO celebrated the eclipse with Solar Eclipse Pineapple Habanero and Black Bean Spicy Gouda chips, signifying the sun and moon.

3. New Jerky

In both Europe and North America, meat snack launches have been increasing as a percentage of snacks category launches, with high/source of protein and gluten-free leading in claims.6 Smoked is the top flavor for meat snacks recently launched in the European market, followed by chili.7

jerkey

Since the bold savory flavors and health claims of meat jerky are right on target for today’s trends, it’s no wonder innovation is heating up in the category. Restaurants are leading the charge here, experimenting with new proteins, plus fruits and vegetables. Pineapple jerky, carrot jerky, pork and shrimp jerky, and salmon jerky have all been spotted and can provide inspiration for retail packaged snacks.8

Your Partner for Flavorful Functional Snacks

Whether savory or sweet, the snacks that appeal the most in today’s market are those that offer a moment of indulgence through an exciting flavor or format—and provide some nutritional or functional benefit. Expect this desire for the best of both worlds to continue to grow as more consumers seek simple steps they can take to live a healthier lifestyle.

Glanbia Nutritionals is your partner in developing flavorful, functional, better-for-you snacks that consumers will love. Our expertise and offerings in dairy-based and plant-based proteins, bioactive ingredients, custom premix solutions, and Foodarom flavors encompass everything you need to satisfy your snacking consumers. 

Contact us to learn more.


References

1-2. Datassential, Keynote Report: Snacking, July 2023. 
3. Innova Market Insights, Trends Insider: Nourishing Tomorrow: Global Healthy Snack Trends with a Focus on Asia Pacific, December 2023.
4. Datassential, Keynote Report: Snacking, July 2023.
5. Innova Market Insights, Next-Generation Snacking: Exploring the Global Landscape of Better-For-You Sweet vs Savory, July 2023.
6-7. Innova Market Insights, Category Review: What’s Trending in Meat Snacks – Global, December 2023.
8. Datassential, Snacks, March 2023.

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