Consumers seek out real ingredients in snack foods
Consumers are driving change in the snack category with their ever-increasing demand for organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free and other more natural snacks.
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A key trend at the moment is “clean labeling,” and major CPG companies are following up with commitments to remove artificial ingredients.
“Shoppers are making different buying decisions, especially when it comes to snacks,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt, EVP and practice leader, snacks at IRI. “For many consumers, in particular millennials and boomers, snacking is now a regular part of their day.” According to IRI, U.S. consumers have increased their snacking frequency over the past five years, from 1.9 snacks per day to 2.8 snacks per day (up 67%) — and 51% report consuming three-plus snacks per day.
The data also show that shoppers are looking for cleaner labels on salty snacks and better-for-you options like bars, nuts and dried fruit snacks.
Sales of “natural” and “organic” snacks in the past two years alone have grown 24% and 28%, according to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health and Wellness Survey, driven by products that are perceived as more healthy. And they are confident that trend will continue. By 2020, sales of natural and organic food are expected to represent nearly 14% of total food sales.
Leaders in the category, such as Mondelez, are introducing products to meet this new demand.
Mondelez launched Good Thins snack chips in March. The brand starts with real ingredients and doesn’t add artificial flavors, colors, partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.
“At Mondelez International, what’s import ant to consumers is important to us. We’re regularly taking a consumer pulse on ingredient and flavor preferences, and we’re excited to launch a brand that delivers on a broad range of these interests,” said Danielle Brown, marketing director for Good Thins at Mondelez International.
Abbott Laboratories is another entrant into the healthy snack category. The company introduced a “foodie-inspired” snack bar line called Curate in February. “Even with countless nutritious snack options in store, people told us they still weren’t quite satisfied and were often looking to make their own snacks using ingredients from their kitchen,” Dustin Finkel, general manager of nutritious snacks at Abbott, said. “We saw this as an opportunity to create a snack brand that tastes handcrafted, with ingredients you can find in nearly every grocery or natural food store.”
FDA calls for less sodium in restaurant, packaged foods
WASHINGTON — The FDA moved Wednesday to cut the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant food in a bid to reduce the health risks associated with consuming too much sodium.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance for public comment that provides practical, voluntary sodium reduction targets for the food industry. Average sodium intake in the U.S. is approximately 3,400 mg/day. The draft short-term (two-year) and long-term (10-year) voluntary targets for industry are intended to help the American public gradually reduce sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day, a level recommended by leading experts and the overwhelming body of scientific evidence.
“Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but that’s hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. “Today’s announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers, so that they can better control how much salt is in the food they eat and improve their health.”
The FDA is especially encouraging adoption by food manufacturers whose products make up a significant portion of national sales in one or more categories and restaurant chains that are national and regional in scope.
“The totality of the scientific evidence supports sodium reduction from current intake levels,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Experts at the Institute of Medicine have concluded that reducing sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day can significantly help Americans reduce their blood pressure and ultimately prevent hundreds of thousands of premature illnesses and deaths. Because the majority of sodium in our diets comes from processed and prepared foods, consumers are challenged in lowering their sodium intake themselves.”
Included in the draft guidance is a common system for defining and measuring progress on reducing sodium in the U.S. food supply. The approach is to establish reasonable, voluntary reduction targets for the majority of processed and prepared foods, placing foods in nearly 150 categories from bakery products to soups. The draft targets factor in data on consumer preferences, as well as current industry efforts to reduce sodium.
“We believe that the time is now to engage in a national dialogue on the problem of excess sodium. Publishing these targets is an important step in that dialogue,” added Dr. Mayne.
Aqua Carpatica expands distribution in U.S.
NEW YORK — The world's only nitrate-free naturally sparkling mineral water is expanding distribution in the United States.
Aqua Carpatica announced that the brand has earned national distribution for its naturally sparkling mineral and still spring varieties at Kroger stores.
"Having launched just four years ago in our home country of Romania, we are so proud to have earned national distribution throughout the U.S. in partnership with Kroger," said Jean Valvis, president and general director of Valvis Holding, Aqua Carpatica's parent company. "Aqua Carpatica is now available in eight countries, and we look forward to continued growth and expanded availability for our nitrate-free, naturally sparkling mineral and still spring waters both in the U .S. and around the world."
Nitrate-free and naturally sparkling, Aqua Carpatica Natural Sparkling Mineral Water has a range of health benefits. Due to its unique concentration of calcium and magnesium, it is particularly suited for athletes and people with high levels of physical activity, and its naturally sparkling attributes also help aid in digestion. Both the sparkling and still varieties are also naturally free of sodium, which makes Aqua Carpatica a good option for people on a low sodium diet, or for those suffering from high blood pressure.
AQUA Carpatica will be available at more than 900 Kroger, Ralph's, Fry's, King Scoopers, Fred Meyer, and QFC & Smith's stores across the U.S. This distribution announcement follows the company's recent news of distribution expansions at Sprouts Farmer's Market Stores, Gelson's Markets and Whole Foods locations in California.