When it comes to snacks and sweets, today’s consumers have a pretty particular list of what they’re shopping for. From keto dieters and those looking for a little indulgence to snackers with social responsibility in mind, established players and younger companies alike are taking heed and coming to market with trend-forward products.
Here’s what’s trending in the segment.
From gluten-free to keto to vegan, consumers are looking for convenient ways to consume foods that fit their particular dietary needs. Kiss My Keto offers keto-friendly bars in flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate peanut butter, as well as ketogenic chocolate bars with roasted almonds. Likewise, Washington-based HighKey makes keto-friendly, gluten-free snacks ranging from mini cookies to crunchy cheese bites.
The CBD craze
Cannabidiol has become a hot ingredient across the food and beverage industry, and while it has yet to gain FDA approval, snack makers have been keen to bring CBD-infused items to store shelves. San Francisco’s Siren Snacks has launched Coconut Chocolate Chip R&R Bites, which include 5 mg of hemp extract per bite, while Base Culture offers a range of brownies and blondies that are both gluten-free and infused with CBD.
Fun frozen desserts
Identified as a trend by the Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show, a frozen food renaissance has taken hold. The trend ranges from dairy alternatives and benefit-added ingredients to more traditional sweets. Mama Biscuits, for example, offers a line of ready-to-bake cobblers, while Peekaboo Ice Cream has released cotton candy-flavored ice cream with beets hidden inside.
Bold flavors and colors
According to Mintel’s Regina Haydon, foods with adventurous flavors and bright colors are trending in a big way. Social media has helped this trend take off, with Instagrammable items being shared across the internet. “Young consumers in particular seek visually attractive, ‘share-worthy’ food and drink that is photogenic and perfect for social media,” Haydon told Food Navigator. Think bright blue and purple hues, as well as flavors such as violet, blood orange, jackfruit, lemongrass and pink peppercorn.
Companies on a mission
Mission-driven snack companies are cropping up across the country. Today’s consumers love to hear the stories behind the food they eat, and enjoy supporting companies that serve a purpose beyond selling products. LUV Michael, for example, is a non-profit organization that makes gluten-free and nut-free granola while training, educating and employing people with autism.