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For 2019 snacks, better-for-you foods are the status quo

71% of consumers say they eat snacks at least once per day; when surveyed, a majority of people across all age groups said they wanted healthier options for meals and snack. But things that are labeled as “all natural” or “100% fruit” can be misleading, and with packaging driving 36% more purchasing decisions than ads, callouts on boxes may be less helpful than once assumed.

Industry leading fruit snacks that people have enjoyed for years still have 10 grams of added sugar or more. Even when product revamps to contain more vitamins, lunchbox staple fruit snacks are riddled with added colors and flavors. Most of the time, these snacks are made with gelatin, a texture agent made from animal by-products, like pork skin or beef bones. Currently, the global gelatin market is set to hit over $4 billion by 2024. In 2015, the food and beverage market consumed nearly 265 million pounds of animal gelatin. These gelatins make these snacks inaccessible to people with dietary restrictions, such as Kosher or Halal observance, or those who don’t choose to consume animal products. The need for alternative gelatins is higher than ever as people wish to move away from the traditional gelatins.

According to IRI Worldwide, the four categories that increased unit sales and revenue in 2017 were ice creams and sorbets, cookies, salty snacks, and granola bars. They found that indulgent snacks, like chips and ice cream, have increased more steadily than healthier options, like granola bars or whole fruit options.

For the healthier snack options, trail mixes, frozen fruit, jerkies, and snack size fresh produce saw increases because convenience plays a huge factor in snack choice. Oftentimes, less healthy items come in single-serve packages, are less messy than healthier options, like whole fruit, and come in more convenient locations, like traditional vending machines. Quick and limited serve locations are increasing in popularity, especially for sweet treats like ice cream; in 2017, 42% of consumers reported go to these restaurants/stores 1 to 2 times per week.

What does this mean? Consumers need convenient, healthy options that are affordable. People snack where they work; meaning, employees who don’t have time to shop or have a car to transport heavy groceries rely on what is purchased at their offices. These nutritional callouts are important and high-protein snacks are on the rise. A majority of people want healthier snacks, with the report saying 60% overall, but the most important factors are taste and convenience, with 90% of people choosing the tastiest option over the healthiest. This means that companies need to begin investing into combining both the health call-outs people want and the nutrients they need and claim they want into the most delicious snack possible.