Innovation is driving healthier crisps and snacks – Mintel report

The buzz around the health credentials of pulses looks to have made its mark on consumers, with half of savoury snack eaters deeming snacks made with pulses healthier than potato-based ones. This gives scope for manufacturers to explore healthier formulations of snacks, according to Mintel in its report ‘Crisps, Savoury Snacks and Nuts’.

Savoury snacks high in protein would appeal to 28% of UK consumers, says the report. High-protein claims have traditionally been seen in meat snacks, but have in recent years seen wider adoption by roasted beans and peas as well as nuts and seeds. Given the high interest, this is an area with scope for more NPD by suppliers.

Health-boosting herbs/spices have gained visibility in the mainstream media in recent years, turmeric being one example that gained prominence in 2017. Savoury snacks with health-boosting herbs and spices interest 26% of UK adults, suggesting opportunities to spotlight these ingredients in this category.

“Despite the ongoing focus on healthy eating, crisps, savoury snacks and nuts continue to grow sales,” says report author Anita Winther (pictured). “That the concept of eating a ‘balanced diet’ is ingrained among Brits is helping to sustain the market, this leaving room for unhealthy treats. Indeed, treating oneself is the most important purchase driver, beating the more functional reason of satisfying hunger and providing an energy boost.”

Crisps and crisp-style snacks are staples in British households, eaten by 90% of adults. These snacks also enjoy a high frequency of eating, with over a third (36%) of eaters having them three times a week or more. Their well-established role as part of lunches likely supports the frequency.

Nuts are eaten by 48% of UK adults, with high protein content and ‘good’ fats lending them a healthy image. Roasted/flavoured nuts are notably more popular than unroasted/unflavoured ones, likely tied to their fuller flavour experience.

“While enjoyment and indulgence play a key role in the market, health considerations are also affecting it, driving the growth in popcorn, nuts and meat snacks, but also inspiring innovation,” says Winther. “Vegetable-based snacks are one area that continues to attract NPD. The entry of PepsiCo, the market leader in crisps and crisp-style snacks, into this space in 2017 with its Off The Eaten Path brand exemplifies the interest attached to this developing area even by industry stalwarts. That half of savoury snack eaters deem snacks made with pulses healthier than potato-based ones suggests scope for further NPD here.”

Treating oneself is the leading or shared top reason for buying for all the savoury snacks researched. The nature of products like crisps and popcorn means that most leading brands make an enjoyable eating experience their central proposition, bolstering such associations.

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