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Clean label snack trends

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From upcycled ingredients to supply chain transparency, consumers are gravitating toward clean label snack brands that tell meaningful stories.

Stay-at-home orders changed the way consumers snack, and many speculate that habits formed during the pandemic will endure once life gets back to “normal.” This is great news for clean label brands.

The Future of Grocery Shopping in Uncertain Times”—joint research from Informa Market’s New Hope Network and consumer research firm Suzy—indicated 58% of consumers were snacking more during the pandemic than they usually would, and 35% were purchasing more healthy snacks than usual. At the same time, Innova Market Insights pointed out in its Top Ten Trends for 2021 in Sweets and Snacks webinar that demands have evolved in the snack category. Specifically, natural and artificial-free are now the bare minimum for consumers, and today’s top requests range from GMO-free and “real” ingredients to those that take into account human and animal welfare, supply chain transparency and sustainable sourcing.

According to Innova, connecting with the consumer and telling meaningful stories will matter in the snack market as consumption goes up and demands increase, especially since 3 in 5 global consumers are interested in learning more about where their food comes from and how it’s made. Stories that will resonate include those based on plants (whether communicating clean eating or nutritional boosts), sustainable farming, animal welfare and eco-efforts. How’s a snack brand to choose ... and differentiate?

Food & Beverage Insider spoke with experts from leading clean snack brands—including B&G Foods (the parent company behind Back to Nature) and HIPPEAS—about the top demands, challenges and trends impacting the clean label snack market today.

Food & Beverage Insider: What are some of the emerging trends impacting the clean label snack market right now, and what is driving those trends?

Meghan Swatt, senior brand manager, snacks, B&G Foods Inc.: It is such an interesting time in the entire food industry right now. There are more people cooking and eating at home than ever before. With that, though, comes a certain sense of monotony and boredom. For clean label snacks, it is a great time to attract the new consumer with labels and trends that someone may have never thought of giving a try before. Plant based is everywhere—from meat to milk, from frozen to snacks.

We are also starting to see upcycled ingredients enter into the conversation. This trend couples concerns about what goes into your body, with what is left behind in the environment from making those foods. With the use of upcycled ingredients, it helps make sure every part of the plant or fruit is used so nothing goes to waste. At Back to Nature, we are aiming to create delicious foods that aren’t just better for you, but better for the planet as well.

Lindsey Valliere, vice president of marketing, HIPPEAS: Transparency is the top trend impacting the clean label snack market. Consumers are looking for brands they can trust and that provide authentic and credible products. This desire for transparency is tied to growing consumer concerns around sustainability and ethically produced foods.

This excerpt is from a longer article, “Snack experts differentiate with transparency, sustainability and claims” in the “Innovation in the healthy snack space” digital magazine. Click the link to read the full Q&A with industry leaders from B&G Foods (the parent company behind Back to Nature), HIPPEAS and The Good Crisp Co.

Melissa Kvidahl Reilly is a freelance writer and editor with 10 years of experience covering news and trends in the natural, organic and supplement markets. She lives and works in New Jersey.

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