Snacks have become an eating occasion solution all their own for busy, on-the-go consumers across multiple generations. Americans claim to be eating an average of 2.5 snacks a day. Sure, some of those are meal replacements, but in other cases, people are just downsizing traditional meals and eating more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day. And snack foods are no longer just found in a single aisle in your favorite food retailer. Snack options are now featured in most grocery store aisles, and they’re available wherever people are, whether that be the airport, health club, work, internet, or clothing, drug or hardware stores. In fact, it is hard to find a location where snacks are not being offered for sale. With all these subliminal snacking cues facing consumers today, it is not surprising that Nielsen reported that 45% of shoppers are looking for healthier snack options.
The progressing “snack landscape” has led to changing expectations for these eating occasions. People want snacks to supply nutritional benefits rather than just empty calories. Energy, satiety, focus, etc. is what the research firm IRI calls ‘lifestyle ingredients.’ Healthy snacks that fuel the body for an on-the-go lifestyle. This is not to say that there’s no longer room for snacks as indulgences or treats, because there definitely is. In fact, IRI reports, half of consumers say they eat snacks to add excitement to their daily diet. Treats just fill a different need and are often eaten during evening hours.
Snacking with benefits
Vitamins, minerals, nutrient-dense snacks appeal to consumers across all generations that want to eat more healthfully. Healthy options still need to be convenient though, 57 percent of consumers want portable snacks for on-the-go snacking, up from 39 percent just two years ago, according to IRI. More than half of people would like to see a full serving of fruit or vegetables in their snack choice and 65 percent want an energy boost from their selection. These figures support the growing desire for wholesome, nutritious snacks. People are looking for offerings with substance that will make them feel good both mentally and physically.
Younger consumers—Gen Z, much like Millennials—put a greater emphasis on convenience and health, according to a recent Packaged Facts report. The research confirms that while convenience is important to Gen Z, so is health. This younger cohort is more likely to look for snacks that are organic, natural and without additives. But don’t overlook the Boomers, they are also seeking snack options with similar attributes. Since 88 percent of Americans do not consume the minimum daily fruit recommendation, including a fruit serving might differentiate a product and appeal to consumers across all generations.
Dried fruits might be an alternative solution to this healthful snacking trend. According to a Grandview Research report on the healthy snack market, shows consumers are eating dried fruit snacks because they provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients. Naturally portable, convenient and nutrient dense, dried fruit ticks all the boxes for today’s snacking lifestyle. While there’s greater awareness of the need and benefits of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc., people want to eat them in whole foods rather than supplements.
Since most of the moisture is removed from the fruit during the drying process, you only need to add a fraction of the weight to be equivalent to the whole fresh fruit. For instance, if you add 13 grams of dried apples at 18% moisture to your formula, it is equivalent to 1 cup of fresh apples. To view all our fruit serving conversions, click here to download our fruit serving card.
Tree Top’s dried fruit products provide excellent piece identity, great texture, and are shelf stable in a variety of applications. Explore all our dried fruit products and let us create the perfect ingredient for your next application formulation.