From #Girldinner to #Dinner – Vegan & Plant-based Snacks as Meals

Social media trends are blowing up across the food industry.

One of the most memorable over the last year was #Girldinner, where countless young women showed off their uncanny talents for creating entire meals out of only snacks.

But this phenomenon of snack-based dinners isn’t limited to the FYP (for you page); the numbers show that it is actually quite the thing IRL (in real life).

Recent data shows that women almost unanimously (93%) say they are likely to use snack foods as part of a meal!

Yet despite the unforgettable “song” and the meme-ification of this trend, a fact check from Frito-Lay’s 2024 Snack Index revealed that in 2024, men are just as likely (92%) to have their own version of #Girldinner.


Honestly, this shouldn’t be too surprising. According to the index, the average American has only 52 minutes per day to prepare, eat and enjoy their meals. Adding to this, ⅓ of consumers say they have less than 30 minutes a day to prep and enjoy meals.

However, with snacks replacing meals across various demographics, satisfying cravings with taste and convenience are no longer the only criteria for success.

Most notably, nutrition and wellness are becoming standout factors for consumers, forcing the food industry to respond in ways they previously hadn’t for many snacks.

With this need for delicious and nutritious snacks gaining the attention of developers and only looking to grow, what could this mean for the plant-based world?

Making Plant-based Snacktastic

Plant-based and 100% vegan snacks span a wide variety of categories, and the number of options is only going to grow.

In addition to classic chips, crisps, and crunchy-fare, developers are looking for ways to bridge the gap between convenience and satiating substance.

Plant-based dairy continues to be a staple in this regard, from on-the-go cheese alternatives to cultured plant-based yoghurts packing a protein punch that can even contend with traditional dairy.

Speaking of protein, nutritional snack bars are a category that is seeing an impressive amount of innovation. This is because of all “snack” products, bars are the most often asked to “do more”, particularly as a meal replacement.


This “more” might often come in the form of higher protein, but with the rise of functional ingredients, any number of health benefits are now on the table.

With the industry and consumers taking a more holistic approach toward nutritious snacks, we can’t forget that taste is what brings a #dinner together.

Still, creating a great-tasting product that contains high protein and functional ingredients in the vegan world is no small feat.

Achieving a Simple-y Delicious #Dinner with Plant-based

Adding protein, other fortifications or functional ingredients may result in texture and taste challenges.


As texture is directly linked to taste perception, developers must find a way to simultaneously increase the nutritional capacity of these foods while also achieving the great experience consumers require. This is especially true if the food is taking on the role of a “meal.”

Meeting texture expectations in vegan products is about achieving the proper balance in your formulation. This comes from finding the perfect ratio and type of protein blends, fats, and other ingredients like starches. Incorporating emulsifiers or stabilising systems can also help to provide the proper texture for developments such as beverages, cream cheeses, ice cream, etc.

Even when your texture is on point, there can be a myriad of off-notes and other taste challenges that need your attention.

Using our dairy-type flavours is always a good choice, not only for our natural maskers but also for our authentic characterising flavours.

On top of dealing with unwanted notes, the distinct taste of dairy can also carry the aroma and flavour of many other ingredients, such as fruits, coffee, and more. This can create the perfect blend of acids, salt, fruits, and spices.

“By pushing the boundaries of flavour innovation, developers can capture the attention of consumers seeking novel and exciting snack options,” says Jessa Friedrich, Director of Marketing at Edlong.

She continues, “Developers should be looking to experiment with all kinds of unconventional, unique, and exotic flavor combinations to create snacks that stand out in the market. Dairy flavours offer an incredible number of possibilities for creating unique and innovative snack offerings.“


#Girldinner might have left the “trending” list, but the need for plant-based snacks with innovative form, function, and flavour isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Need an experienced plant-based snack development partner that won’t leave you on-read?

Slide into our DMs to get started on your next project today!

Click the link below to learn more about how to develop great tasting functional food and beverages, make sure to check out the recording of our latest webinar:

About the Author: Emily Sheehan, Applications Manager, EMEA

Hi! I’m Emily Sheehan. I’m the Applications Manager, EMEA at Edlong, and my job is rooted in creating exciting new possibilities for our people and processes. It’s inspiring to reflect on how much Edlong has achieved and even more amazing to be involved in such thoughtful innovation. We enjoy pushing boundaries in food and flavour, and we welcome everyone in the food industry to join us. If you’re in need of expertise or inspiration, I’d love to collaborate and help you design flavour solutions that resonate with consumers!

Topics: Snacks & bakeryVegan
Resource Type: Article
Resource Region: EULATAMUS


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