How has the Snacking Segment Transformed?

One key change to drive the industry will be a keener focus on clean eating; people may check the health meter of snacks before making purchases.
How has the Snacking Segment Transformed? 

The answer to the question is a resounding—YES! Snacking, as a practice and sector, has transformed completely since the first mention of the virus. Health was a priority pre-pandemic, but being locked at home which continuing to maximize work output has put immense strain on us all. The result is that we’ve fallen back on old habits that provide comfort. Hence, our snacking behaviors have been invariably affected.  
India has always been a snack-consuming market. Why there is a shift towards healthy snacking in India?
India - In these uncertain times, snacks offer us that transient feeling of comfort that’s so rare. In 2020, the industry experts noticed that the pandemic’s effects had led to a drastic change in Indian eating norms. The usual practice of three-square meals a day has been replaced by a multiple snacking cultures.
In December 2020, Mondelez’s Annual State of Snacking study also mentioned how two-thirds of Indians snacked more since the pandemic broke out – 77 percent of all surveyed would rather snack than eat complete meals. Kantar’s data further supported this finding with its own research, saying the volume of the category had expanded remarkably, by over 8 percent in the matter of a year till May 2020; accruing an additional 12 percent by April-May 2021. Today, people may be finally, gradually emerging from lockdowns but it’s unlikely that there’ll be a snacking slowdown. With the hybrid work model gaining increasing favor, consumption of snacks is headed in a singular direction- up.
The US - In the US too, a similar trend has been noticed. Since people are home-bound, they’re cooking most meals, including snacks, at home. When they do order out, it’s usually food articles they can’t cook at home, for example, global and comfort foods such as Mexican and Asian cuisines and specially-crafted beverages and ice creams. Before the pandemic upended matters, as per a USA-based 2020 Information Resources, Inc study, snacks were transforming into a functional meal-replacement option for as much as 44 percent of consumers. Now, however, snacking was back to becoming all about indulgence and convenience.
What About the Future of Snacking?
The future for the snacks segment seems bright indeed, with a few key emerging trends:
Health Consciousness will be a Huge Factor in Choosing Snacks -  One key change to drive the industry will be a keener focus on clean eating; people may check the health meter of snacks before making purchases. Snacks having high-protein and vitamin-rich qualities will be selected over others. Industry players should pay heed to this cognizable shift in consumer trend and follow it to capitalize on the burgeoning clean, mindful snacking culture.  Healthy snacking segment observing similar trend in food category. Healthy segment is booming across all food categories.
Traditional Snacks will Always Rule - As a culture, we’re enamored by traditions; same is the case with our love for namkeens. Our teens have inherited this trait and are driving its high sales - namkeens comprise 50 percent of all salted snacks. It’ll continue to rule the leader-board, with sales expected to expand in double digits.  In non-metro cities and small towns, people are connected with typical taste palate. For them, traditional snacks would always be the first preference.
Branded Products will have More Consumer Trust than Non-Branded Varieties - Of all snacks purchased today, over 65 percent falls under the branded category as against almost 40 percent in the pre-COVID times. Hence, the branded segment is poised to expand as consumers are extremely health conscious. They’ll happily pay a premium for branded snacks than cheaper ones, wherein ingredients and the health quotient is suspect.
Snacking is growing again and its growth is fuelled by mindful and clean eating. The industry has reason to celebrate if they’re ready to capitalize on these trends.  

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