Snacking to manage mood and health
PEOPLE are increasingly snacking to manage their mood but the lolly jar is out as middle-class consumers with flexible eating routines drive demand for healthy snacks, new research shows.
Participants in the survey by Galileo Kaleidoscope reported snacking as a method of handling stress, enhancing social engagement or to address feelings of low energy.
But rather than reaching for the lolly jar, participants said they instead look for clean, high-quality ingredients that maximise nutritional benefits and supported improved wellness.
These results, out this month, reflect earlier research by FMCG showing affluent middle-class urban consumers with increasingly flexible eating routines are driving demand for convenient and healthy snacks.
The Asia Pacific region is the fastest growing snack market globally.
Consumers though are increasingly demanding transparency around ingredients and claims by snack food producers too, with major food brands Nestle, Mars and Hershey’s pledging to remove artificial flavours and reduce sugar and fat.
For the Asian market, healthy snacks such as nuts, vegetables and superfood-based bars or drinks are the most popular, with 63 per cent of China’s urban consumers choosing fruits and vegetables as their snack of choice.
The growth in meat-free and gluten-free diets has also driven the trend for plant-based, organic snacks such as wholegrain crackers, flavoured, roasted chickpeas, muesli bars, packaged nuts and seeds.
IBISWorld reports Australia’s healthy snack food production industry has performed strongly in the past five years.
Industry revenue is expected to grow at an annualised 4.3 per cent over the five years through 2017-18, to reach $1.8 billion. Industry revenue has been boosted by rising health consciousness and increased participation in gyms and fitness centres over the period.
Consumer concerns about obesity and time-constrained lifestyles have also driven demand for convenient and healthy snacks over the past five years.
Rising disposable incomes have also supported the industry, particularly as many industry products are priced at a premium compared with traditional snack foods, IBIS reports.
Small scale and independent suppliers of organic and wholefood-based snacks are increasingly competing with Nestle, Kellogg’s and the in-house lines at ALDI, Coles and Woolworths.
Considering Australia’s reputation for organic food, with exports driving a major increase in the sales of organic food and ownership of 53 per cent of the global organic farming land, Australian health food producers can’t ignore the need to provide convenient snack products that provide clear, transparent and evident nutritional benefits on the packaging.
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