Fruit snacks on the rise

This is not a ploy to get you to join in with those on health kicks this month, but health, convenience and choice have all contributed to a rise in the number of new fruit-based hitting the market over the last few years.

According to Innova Market Insights, their share of global tracked snack launch activity has more than doubled to almost 18% from less than 8% over the past five years. This, the market research company says, makes it the number three snacks sub-category after savoury/salty snacks and snack nuts/seeds.

“The market is now very diverse,” notes Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “But it can generally cover a number of categories, led by dried snacking fruit, fruit bars and processed fruit snacks. There is ongoing activity in emphasising the snack positioning of fruit products, with more user friendly packaging such as resealable stand-up pouches and small pots and trays, making them more suitable for anytime snacking. There has also been growth in the availability of multipacks of individual snacks.”

As the market has developed, fruit and nut mixes, often featuring more unusual and exotic varieties, have grown in popularity. These include so-called superfruits, ranging from relatively established cranberries to the less well-known goji and acai mixes. Value is also being added, Innova believes, by using other ingredients and flavourings, including chocolate, yogurt and coconut.

The healthy image of fruit has also helped to drive the market forward. Nearly half of launches tracked in the 12 months to the end of September 2016 were positioned on a health platform of some kind, rising to over 85% in North America.

Recent interest in clean labelling and free from products has generally been relatively easy to target in a sub-category with an existing natural image, Innova adds. Over a quarter of launches used a natural and/or no additives or preservatives positioning, rising to over 36% if organic claims are also included.

Interest in GMO-free claims has also jumped in recent years and they are now used on around 8% of global launches, up from 3.5% five years ago. North America has been leading the trend, with 38% of launches claiming to be non-GMO, up from just 12% five years ago. This, Innova says, illustrates the response to rising levels of consumer concern around this.

Other health claims of ongoing interest include fibre content, used for over 11% of global launches in the 12 months to the end of September 2016, and sugar content (no added sugar, low sugar and sugar free) with over 10%.

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