Sweets & Snacks Expo 2017

Innova Market Insights identifies hybrid and "moment-centric" snack trends

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Snacking is becoming more important to consumers who are seeking out new globally-influenced flavors, occasions to snack, and the convergence of culinary trends in the category. 

Speaking to BakeryandSnacks at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, Kara Nielsen, Innova Market Insights’ sales and engagement manager for the US, said specialty and culinary flavors are moving into the mass market.

She said Innova Market Insights has identified a trend called "kitchen symphony" showing the emergence of sage, chili-lime, coffee and regional barbeque flavors within the snacks market.

Kitchen symphony

“We see a food savvy set of consumers who are tapped into the world through the internet and smartphones getting really excited about all the flavors they see,” Nielsen said. “They have a greater understanding of what a regional flavor is and where it comes from and what authentic cuisine is.”

Lays potato chips, for example, has followed this global, culinary trend with the launch of its Brazilian Picanha chips and bacon poutine-flavored chips.

Encapsulating moments

Next to the "on-the-go" message, snack companies are positioning their products as "moment-oriented" to align with specific needs throughout the day.

“This is a trend that looks at how consumers think about their day and what they’re looking for at breakfast versus what they’re looking for in a pick-me-up snack,” Nielsen said.

Messages such as "on the road", "in the car" and are appearing more on snacks, Innova has found.

Fuzzy borders

Snack companies are blurring the food category lines when it comes to snacking innovation, which Innova calls its "fuzzy borders" trend.

“This trend shows foods that are hybrids or fusions of other foods,” Nielsen said. For example, "sweet bakery flavors appearing in popcorn.”

PopCorners is another hybrid snack example, molding pressed popcorn into the shape of a tortilla chip.

“It really underscores the nature of where candy and snacks are going,” Nielsen added. 

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