Consumers demand health snacks, reject empty calories

Consumer demand for healthy snacks is strong and shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. In fact, an August 2022 report from Newark, Del.-based Future Market Insights (“Better for You Snacks Market by Type, Sales Channel & Region — Forecast 2022 – 2032”) indicates that the global better-for-you snacks market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% between 2022 and 2032 to reach $70 billion.

Many of today’s consumers are saying goodbye to “empty calories” when it comes to snacking. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted consumer behavior toward nostalgia and healthier alternatives, said Nikki Azzara, founder and CEO of Denver-based P.S. Snacks Co. “Now in this post-COVID era, people have set higher expectations for health, taste [and] snacking in general.” Brand innovation and discoverability tied to TikTok, Instagram and other marketing channels, too, are driving healthy snacking trends, Azzara added.

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Cut the Carbs

Consumers differ, of course, as to how they define a healthy snack. But most healthy snack-seekers are looking for products that mesh with one or more of today’s significant market trends. Carb-cutting is one such trend. 

Many consumers are opting for snacks with fewer carbs/less sugar, Azzara said. To meet this trend, her company recently launched low-sugar, low-carb cookie dough bites with no artificial flavors or “junky” fillers or preservatives. The plant-based, gluten-free bites are made from chickpeas and covered in chocolate. They represent a modern take on nostalgic movie theater bites and do not compromise on taste, she said.

Hitesh Hajarnavis, managing partner of Free2b Foods, a New York-based creator of allergy-friendly snacks, agreed that the trend is moving toward less sugar. He noted that Free2b Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter Mini Sun Cups align particularly well with this trend. They contain 44% less sugar than the leading mini peanut butter cup.

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Mind the Keto and Protein Pushes

Going hand in hand with the low-carb/low-sugar trend is the move toward keto diet-friendly…

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