snacking trends

Healthy Snacking Trends in Europe

While snacking is an integral part of most consumers’ diets, the pandemic and its associated stressors have influenced what’s driving consumers to snack. This guide features an in depth look on the latest global snacking trends, as well as deep dives into consumer drivers in healthy snacking and bars in key European countries. 

Quick Info

Title Healthy Snacking Trends in Europe
Reading time 28 minutes
Published August 12, 2021


While the definition of a snack may vary, from country to country or by generation, the snacking occasion is growing. The pandemic may have affected where global consumers eat snacks, but the occasion continued to thrive in the home and around the world. Over half of global consumers consider a snack to be either single serve or something that offers a nutritional boost. So snacks that offer a health benefit like protein or provide upscale ingredients and are convenient are the future of snacking.

Current Snacking Drivers in Europe 

To understand how this desire for distraction might be influencing European consumers, Glanbia Nutritionals surveyed consumers in the UK, France, and Germany about their snacking habits. The results reveal 38% of consumers in Europe often snack while they’re bored, while 50% snack to cope with stress or frustration. These results confirm that distraction is indeed a major snacking driver in Europe. 

At the same time, optimization and nourishment remain important reasons for snacking for many European consumers. For example, 42% of consumers indicate snacking is a way for them to refuel after strenuous activity (physical optimization), and 26% snack throughout the day to manage their alertness or focus (mental optimization). Snacks to support this need state often include important nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, and/or functional ingredients like caffeine or botanicals. 

Snacking for nourishment also plays a key role in many consumers’ daily diets, with 33% of Europeans using snacking to control calories as part of weight management and 22% snacking for sustained energy to get through the day. Consumers snacking for nourishment may choose to snack on foods and beverages with whole grains, fibre, protein, and healthy fats—particularly those with minimal sugar.

Vegan Launches Trending Up Across Europe 

Vegan product claims continue to grow across Europe. The percentage of new foods and beverages launched in Europe that included a vegan claim quadrupled between 2014 and 2020, growing from 3% to 12%. Germany had the highest percentage of vegan claims in new products in 2020 at 22%, followed by the UK at 19%, the Netherlands at 14%, and Spain at 10%.

There are signs that the COVID pandemic has given plant-based nutrition a boost. Mintel reports 17% of consumers in Spain, 13% in France and Germany, and 12% in Italy indicate the COVID pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing to them. Two out of five German consumers and at least one in three Spanish consumers agree the pandemic proves people need to eat fewer animals. According to FMCG Gurus, one in five German and French consumers plan to change their diets to include more plant-based foods going forward.

Launch Your Next Snack with Glanbia Nutritionals Support 

With a wide range of functional and nutritional ingredient solutions, along with established formulation and application expertise, we’ll help you create snacks with the texture, nutrition, and appearance that today’s discerning consumers desire. And we’ve now revolutionized how to create protein fortified extruded snacks.

Get your next successful snack to market faster by working with Glanbia Nutritionals for functionally superior ingredients, formulation expertise and technical support, ingredient consistency and quality, and other support. Download the guide to learn more or contact us for a personalized presentation. 

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