Mintel reveals top five snack trends at Sweets and Snacks Expo

Speaking at this year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, Marcia Mogelonsky offered Confectionery Production an update on the organisation’s top five confectionery trends that it expects will be making headlines for the remainder of this year.

With consumers expecting an ever-greater range of choice from their confectionery and snacks choices, it’s clear that manufacturers are being challenged to devise product ranges that offer alternatives in terms of flavour profiles, texture, appearance, as well as noting preferences for healthier options as well. As the Mintel’s director of Insight explains, there are plenty of factors to consider.

Trend #1

There’s no denying that taste is important when choosing a salty snack But, taste is not the only factor: Snackers are also captivated by snacks that offer innovative colours, textures and aromas, as well as products with a dynamic shape or appearance. 64% of US salty snack eaters consider taste as an important attribute. Other issues to take into account are how shareable is your new snack offering? Will it stand out on Instagram or be seen on Pinterest? Flavour will never lose its importance, but consumers are also interested in snacks with eye-catching colours and textures. And, “instagrammability” goes beyond the snack: dynamic and dramatic packaging is also important.


Trend #2: Every snack should tell a story

We want to know where our food comes from, how it was made, and who had a hand in its production. Snacks with history, tradition, and heritage have a following. (How many of us still crave original, finger-staining Doritos?). But it is more than that: it is knowing that our snacks have authenticity, that they contain natural, familiar, simple ingredients that are easy to recognise, understand, and pronounce.mWith more than a quarter of snackers reverting to the snacks of their youth, there is a need to renovate classic offerings, a tactic many big players are following. But, there is also room for “new-stalgia” … new snacks that tell their stories – stories of careful, clean preparation with ingredients that are simple, novel, and healthy. New-stalgic snacks will become the nostalgic snacks of the future as Millennials and GenZers share them with their children. A total of 29% of salty snack eaters eat the same snacks as they did when they were kids.

Trend #3: If the snack could tell OUR story, that would be a bonus

Personalised and customised snacks and confectionery will find a following with consumers looking for control of their diets, their health, and their lives. Mintel’s Make it Mine Trend discusses the extent to which consumers want input into the products they buy. And it’s more than just the fact that we can have what we want, when we want it… It’s that we want more.
We want our food to “tell our stories.” We want to make our snacks our own. Our desire for ownership can extend to include flavor mix or ingredients, the appearance of the product, and even the product’s name. Crowdsourcing is one way to have a “personalised snack experience,” but it tends to be a “one-to-many” solution. Some consumers want a one-to-one snack that is theirs, and theirs alone.

Trend #4: Balance is key for today’s snackers

There is always room for another healthy snack, but there is also room for another indulgent treat. Balance is key for today’s consumers, who are finding ways to juggle “the good” and “the bad” when snacking.

Trend #5: Any time is snack time, and everything is a snack

A total of 69% of snackers believe that anything can be considered a snack. That’s not necessarily good news for you, because it means that your competition is coming from more categories than ever before. Snackable products are coming from beyond traditional snack and confectionery categories; meats, cheeses, yogurt, dairy and other categories are proving to be your next big competition. And it’s not just the snacks… it’s also the channels that are becoming more of a challenge. With online ordering, instant delivery, vending and more, we can eat anything at any time and call it a “snack.”

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