¿Qué Depara en el Futuro Próximo a los Snacks Funcionales?

It’s hard to believe that the first half of 2024 is already in the rearview mirror.

Still, out of all the things that I have come across over the past six months as Edlong’s Global

Director of Strategy and Innovation, two things have become crystal clear:

  1. This looks to be the year functional food and beverages firmly establish themselves in the mainstream.
  2. Snacking is taking over how we eat, and it might become the way we eat going forward.

These trends combined have the potential to make huge waves over the second half of the year and well beyond.

For that reason, here are the top four things on my radar for the near future for functional snacking

The Evolution of Snack Breaks: Micro-Meals

snacks

It’s no secret that people are snacking more often, but more important to note is that these snacks are replacing meals.

This might not be news to many of us, but we need to understand how massively this may impact the industry’s future.

For example, 66% of people believe anything can be a snack, and 74% say they have used a snack to replace at least one traditional meal over the last week.

According to Mondelez’s Fifth Annual State of Snacking Report, 6 in 10 consumers surveyed said they prefer to have small, more frequent meals throughout the day rather than a few large ones.

This is in line with the same trend from their 2022 report, which found that 61% of consumers opted for snacks for breakfast, 61% for lunch, and 60% for dinner. Each of those represents at least a 10% increase from 2020.

In my opinion, it might be time to stop making a comparison between snacks and meals and accept that we are entering the era of the “micro-meal”.

Functional snacks and beverages, with their personalisation and targeted health benefits, stand to play a significant role in the permanence of this “trend.”

Next-Level Personalisation

While sit-down meals are becoming a social event or family gathering, snacking remains and may become even more personal—or at least more personalised.

For Gen Z, 73% admitted to snacking alone either all the time or fairly often, and though Boomers are more likely to share a snack break with a friend, they, too, indulge alone 55% of the time.

This could be in part because people aren’t seeking the same things from these snacks, with 7 in 10 looking for different kinds of snacks to meet various needs in their lives[1].

Functional ingredients offering benefits like mood-boosting, increased immunity, long-lasting energy, and more snacking choices may soon become as curated as one’s “For You Page”.

Additionally, snacks and functional snacks, in particular, can be tailored not only to the benefit but also to the occasion.

Take energy, for example.

What someone looks for in the morning can be wildly different from what they need for their workout. The same can go for improved mood, calming, and stress reduction.

However, it’s not enough for these personalised micro-meals to check all of these boxes on paper.

someone_snacking

Validating Claims: Bioavailability

The promise of these functional snacks is exciting for shoppers and developers alike.

Yet, we must be careful not to undercut the promise of their potential by overpromising their benefits.

In other words, as these products continue to carve out a larger slice of the snack and beverage market, verification of claims and bioavailability of ingredients will become crucial.

We are already seeing consumer concerns around functional claims making headlines.

Moreover, brand loyalty just isn’t what it used to be, especially among younger generations.

In Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Brands report, they found that the average net trust of Gen Z was about half that of Baby Boomers and Gen X.

functional-snack-bars

Gen Z Americans are also 57% less loyal to brands than they were prepandemic.

Failing to deliver on claimed functional benefits or making claims about ingredients that “may technically be true” but don’t offer the bioavailability consumers expect could result in potentially irreparable damage to a brand.

The one silver lining is that when it comes to snacks specifically, 76% of people say that they have been loyal to certain brands or products for a long time (84% in North America).

This shows that although consumers are less loyal than ever if companies can build trust early, they may have a customer for life.

Putting the “Fun” in Functional – Developing for Kids

Until now, much of the focus on functional snacks and beverages has been on Millennials and Gen Z.

This makes complete sense, considering that over half of 18-44-year-olds eat snacks at least three times a day.

Recently, more attention has been paid to older generations and how these products can address their health concerns.

The last demographic in need of addressing is coincidently the most associated with snacks: children.

kids-eating-fruits

Whether it’s gut health, high protein, or any number of health benefits, these snacks can give parents the confidence that their kids are getting exactly what they need.

Many developers are already working to answer the call.

Still, putting the “fun” in functional for a whole new generation of snackers is about more than making parents comfortable with the product.

Perhaps more than any group, success won’t come down to benefits or branding but taste.

In fact, if these functional snacks are looking to not only break into the mainstream but dominate it across all demographics, great taste will be the most critical factor.

Learn how partnering with Edlong on your next functional snack could give your consumers the health benefits they need and the taste they crave.

About the Author: Anne Marie Butler, Global Director of Strategy and Innovation

I help food stakeholders from startups to CPGs solve complex flavor problems and accelerate innovation within the food space. Through my 15+ years of experience, I’ve gained skills as a food technologist, thought partner, and leader. My clients and team appreciate my collaborative, humanistic approach to problem solving. In an increasingly tech-centric world, I think that human connection is the source of innovation. Through my work, I’ve realized how important it is to be more proactive about inviting stakeholders into conversations around flavor innovation. I’m not working alone, and I don’t want to be thinking alone either.


[1] Mondelez State of Snacking Report 2023


Topics: Alimentos FuncionalesMejores para su Salud
Resource Type: Artículo
Resource Region: EULATAMUS

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