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Snack foods are one of the leading products of the food industry. Various snacks are being extensively involved in serving of different population groups as every age group has its own kind of snacks.

Highly delightful snack foods are chips, chocolate, namkeen and biscuits. Major industries like Haldiram’s, PepsiCo, Lays, and Cadbury are the rulers of the snack food industry.

Nowadays, constant growth in the market requires a complete understanding of the consumers as consumption trends are changing pace every day. Adding special ingredients and labels to the food products like protein and fibre and features such as no preservative, no trans fat, no artificial colour, no MSG, non-GMO, low salt, low calories and vegan make them superior from non-specialty foods.

With rising health concerns, demand for special dietary requirements is totally being extensively fulfilled by fine and specialty foods. Heading towards healthy snacks options seems as a new trend, recent commercial of Too Yumm snacks by well-known cricketer Virat Kohli beautifully conveys it off by a tag line ‘fried not, fikar not.’

Multigrain chips, quinoa chips
Everyone enjoys munching on snack foods. Awareness has been created to switch the conventional potato chips with the multigrain chips, quinoa chips, vegetable chips without compromising on the taste. Many food manufacturers have used this trick for making healthy indulgence food.

Snacks serving the guilt-free craving are highly appreciated among the population. Currently, snacks foods include roasted nuts, multigrain cereal products, low fat sandwich, low fat yoghurts, low sugar baked and confectionery products. Great shift towards green tea has been witnessed within the small time period. Imagine a snack bar offering same benefits as that of green tea plus addition benefits of multiple grains, ‘TeaSquares’ did the same. Moreover, Nestle and Amul contributed to the green tea chocolates.

Date back to earlier times of raw consumption of various fruits and nuts, things are completely modernised for the on-the-go population that has very less time. Dried fruit pieces, roasted chickpea, soyabean, channa dal, masala peas and specially foxnuts (makhana) is being highly appreciable.

Nowadays added various flavours like cheese, garlic, mint into foxnuts has made everyone to love it. Various blends of dried fruits and dry fruits are commonly consumed as snacks too. Popcorns already reside in the heart of the population. Specialty popcorn i.e., caramel popcorns are trending.

Watermelon seeds, chia seeds
Various seeds attract many food manufacturers because of health benefits. For example, watermelon seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. These bear full potential to be added into snack and snack bars. Like ‘Bikano’ Dal Moth namkeen contains watermelon seeds that provide health benefits too apart from calories. Less exploited hemp seeds also bear a good potential in snack foods. Use of the prime nut of south, ‘coconut’ is hiking in snack bars too.

Chips are always loved for their crunch and savoury taste. Taking the fact ‘cutting calories’ into consideration, ‘Lays’ contributed to the same by launching the low fat potato chips with the same taste. Various kinds of vegetable chips like beetroot chips and spinach chips are gaining popularity. Dried salted vegetables are also available in snacks foods for the ones who have no time and taste for raw vegetables. Dried berries like blueberry, mulberry, strawberries that are known for their rich antioxidant contents are used as one of the ingredients in fruit-based snacks.

Himalayan salt-based snacks
High salt content of conventional snack foods bear has created too many problems like high blood pressure, heart problems. Nowadays the high salty snacks are being replaced by low sodium salts. Himalayan salt-based snacks are gaining popularity. High sugar is also on the same track as that of salt. Consuming high calorie chocolates and chocolate cookies are being overruled by low sugar and sugar-free chocolates and cookies.

Hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds are added to dark chocolate and dark chocolate coated dates to make a perfect snack one can have post-workout. Oats and high fibre biscuits are readily available and have good acceptance in the market as well.

Quinoa, barley, granola and oats are majorly contributing to the snacks of young generation like tremendous variety offered in oats category by ‘Quaker.’ Variety includes high protein instant oatmeal with numerous flavours, one with maple and brown sugar and also in less sugar category.

Growth in the snack bars containing honey, multigrain, dried fruits and nuts and low sugar is witnessed among the youth. Low fat yoghurt with granola is the popular snack among youth. Ragi is the cereal grain that is nowadays used as one of ingredients of multigrain kurkure, bear an excellent taste. Jowar or millet will be very soon become a part of snacks industry. Haldiram’s diet mixture contains puffed rice that makes it a very light and lip smacking snack for every age group.

Traditional snacks
Trend for traditional snacks like ‘pakora’ never fades among the Indian population. Brand ‘Indian Life’ is offering pakoras with chutney representing cultures of India. Various other popular snack foods of various parts of India like khakhra from Rajasthani and Gujarati cuisine, banana chips from south India are very likely products around the world.

Quality plays a dominant role in food stuffs and it is one of the aspects that distinguish specialty foods from non-specialty foods. These foods are known as gourmet foods, various kinds of gourmet snacks foods including chips, chocolates are available because of the choicest ingredients. ‘Lays’ offer the gourmet potato chips.

Trend of organic and non-GMO snacks is gaining good pace, various organic vegetable snacks are available. Thus, fine and specialty foods is the new trend. Snacks with new flavour and taste are one of the prime factors for consumer acceptability of new snacks into the market. So, food manufacturers should never compromise on taste when offering healthy snacks in the market.

(The author is M Sc scholar at Department of Food Science and Technology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana)

Source: FNB News – Fine and specialty snacks trend – A step towards healthy indulgence food | FNB News