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Top Six Trends Shaping the Global Snacks Industry

18 February 2022 by Andres Chehtman, Euromonitor International

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(Photo: Burst)

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, snacks has been the most affected within the packaged food industry. Greater health concerns, coupled with a drastically reduced number of impulse purchase occasions, have been major factors behind the slowdown in the growth of snacks in value terms. Confectionery has undoubtedly been the category most exposed to these new circumstances, but not all has been negative, as savoury snacks came out of 2021 even stronger, as the top snacks category. Going forward, there are six trends that will further shape the industry: the rise of special diets; sugar reduction; hometainment; digitalisation; sustainability; and plant-based eating.

Health as a priority: special diets and sugar reduction
The importance of food as medicine and preventative health has benefited functional food, with consumers seeking to boost their immune system, and eager to actively manage their physical as well as mental wellbeing. On the other hand, as consumers’ mobility has greatly reduced along with COVID-19 containment measures and home seclusion, weight management has risen once again as a concern. Lifestyle diets such as keto, paleo and low-carb are thriving in this context.

In addition, consumers are limiting the intake of sugar to feel healthier, lose weight, and due to medical recommendation from their doctor. Limiting the intake of refined sugar was the second most widespread dietary preference/restriction amongst consumers in 2021, according to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey. Companies have been responding with new products and the addition of “no sugar” claims. Governments are also pushing this trend, worried by high obesity rates across the world.

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Entertaining and shopping at home: hometainment and digitalisation
Snacks consumption is shifting from out-of-home impulse to at-home indulgence. Lockdown conditions and work-from-home policies have given consumers more time at home, increasing the amount of time spent watching TV and streaming services, and playing video games. Opportunities have arisen for snacks companies that offer products for occasions of content consumption and gaming. For example, with families and friends increasingly snacking while they entertain at home, products for sharing are gaining traction.

The growth of e-commerce has been one of the biggest consequences of the pandemic. Snacks companies are embracing the new digital ecosystem not only to increase sales, but also to understand and engage with consumers. This has translated into the launch of direct-to-consumer websites, livestreaming events, and the use of social media to connect with consumers. In particular, TikTok showed the highest growth during the last year: while 24% of consumers were active monthly users in 2020, this rate reached 34% in 2021, according to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey.

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