Healthy, plant-based snacking: Emerging snack trends in India

The need to eat healthy food, environmental concerns, convenience, affordability and at the same time trying out something unique are the factors that would drive the growth of the snacking industry in 2020.
Healthy, plant-based snacking: Emerging snack trends in India

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to a shift in consumer behavior even when it comes to their snacking preferences. This resulted in overnight innovation in the snack food market, which comprises salty snacks, confectionery, baked snacks, and frozen snacks. The need to eat healthy food, environmental concerns, convenience, affordability, and at the same time trying out something unique are the factors that would drive the growth of the snacking industry in 2020.

Many emerging markets rise to the top of those with an increased appetite for snacks. Seeing sales growth in non-essential categories, like snacks, is a good indicator that consumers in these countries are ready and able to spend beyond the bare necessities, marking an incredible opportunity for FMCG companies in these markets, despite the pay-cut or job loss because of the COVID-19.

Here are some of the trend spotlights:

Healthy at convenience

Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks are estimated to contribute to 73% of all deaths. Governments around the world have implemented taxes, campaigns, labeling, and advertising reforms to help consumers make healthier food choices. And, COVID-19 has also made the urgent need of shifting towards healthier snacking options. People are becoming mindful snackers and are also looking for clean labels. Companies are in the process to adjust their action plans in addressing these rapidly increasing consumer needs. The good news is, this healthy food trend is creating new opportunities within snacking and adjacent categories.

On-the-go snacking products

Portability has become one of the main criteria of consumers, who are either working from home or leading a busy schedule. However, on-the-go snacking could be a concern when it comes to sustainability, due to their disposable nature and use of excess packaging. But, many companies are dealing with this major concern to shrink by deciding to produce minimum packaging waste. They have introduced recyclable and biodegradable packaging solutions. Many companies have been urging the consumers to send back the wrapper or the bottle of their company’s location and for that, they are attaching an envelope with their address mentioned in it. It has been seen that almost 40 percent of wasted fruit and vegetables are “imperfect” produce that has been turned away by supermarkets for not complying with cosmetic standards. As a result, snacking companies are also working to reduce food waste. For example, an emerging snacking brand in the UK launched a new range of crisps made from surplus fruit and vegetables, as it aims to give value to oddly shaped, discolored, or blemished fruits and vegetables.

Plant-based snacking

There has been a rise in plant-based diet among consumers in the past few years and the snacking sector has also modified their ingredients according to the consumers’ growing preferences. The global plant-based snacks market was valued at USD 34.69 billion in 2019 and is forecast to reach USD 73.61 billion by 2028, according to Future Market Insights. From vegan jerky, almond milk yogurt, to vegan protein bars, the plant-based snacking market is going through a plethora of innovations to cash in on the trend. They are targeting health-conscious consumers.  Conventional crisp-making methods, such as deep-frying, have been replaced with a trend for popped and puffed crisps. Popped and puffed snacks often use ‘healthier’ ingredients such as seaweed, lentils, chickpeas, and seeds.

Way forward

The FMCG landspace is going through a major transformation in the past few months. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and even after the pandemic subsides, the trend of healthy eating is going to stay for a longer time because consumers have understood that nothing is precious than their wellbeing. The vending industry is one of the most affected industry because most of the snack vending machines are set up either in offices or metro stations. Though metro stations are operational now, many offices are still shut. According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global snack food market is expected to grow from USD 210.4 billion in 2019 to USD 215.9 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 2.7%. This low growth is down to an economic slowdown across countries affected by Covid-19.

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