Chip and dip leads top 10 US snack trends

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Snack, Fruit, Snack food

New generation chips and dips, featuring novel varieties and flavors, tops the 2010 list of the 10 most popular snack trends identified by the US Food Channel in association with its strategy groups CultureWaves and the International Food Futurists and research firm Mintel.

Healthier, spicier dips, such as falafel chips, hummus and pretzel crisps, often served hot, are predicted to overtake the traditional chip-and-dip duo.

We have a national desire for change, and to literally mix things up—and new varieties and new flavors give us something different,”​ according to The Food Channel. “That desire for change is best demonstrated at the snack table, where we find new array of artisanal choices.”

Meal replacements

Commenting on the snack trends a spokeswoman for The Food Channel said: “They show how people are eating today, with smoothies and energy bars functioning as meal replacements, and grazing with small bites throughout the day—sometimes never even sitting down to a meal​.”

The other top nine snack trends were identified as:

  • Small and Sensational.
  • The Drink Shift.
  • Goin’ Nuts.
  • Fruits: The Low-Hanging Snack.
  • Cruising the Bars.
  • Sweet and Salty.
  • Yogurt, Redefined.
  • Bodaciously Bold.
  • Nostalgia’s New Again.

Small and Sensational refers to the trend towards more substantial snacks which are high in protein and eaten as meal replacements. In the old days, snacking was what you did when you grabbed a between-meal bite. Now snacking is literally meal replacement,”​ according to snack trend team. A typical 21st century snack could be a Big Mac Wrap at McDonald’s which could be the main meal of the day – albeit followed by more smaller snacks.

The Drink Shift highlights the health halo surrounding drinks made with fruit or antioxidants. The team note a shift in snack beverages away from colas and energy drinks towards more toward teas, lemonades, fruity organic waters, and carbonated fruit drinks with interesting flavor combinations.

Goin’ Nuts points to the increasing popularity of snacks featuring​nuts, granola, and fruits. Innovative flavour combinations, such as cashews with pomegranate and vanilla, and dark chocolate with caramelized black walnuts, promote the feeling of healthy eating.

Fruits: The Low-Hanging Snack showcases the trend towards new types of fruit, and the redefinition of locally-grown to mean locally-sourced. White peaches and white cherries are becoming popular choices in addition to fresh blackberries and more traditional choices.

Cruising the Bars features the specialism that is available from dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic, soy-free, cholesterol-free, to trans fat-free, and casein-free varieties. There are even versions specifically for women and for kids.

Sweet and Salty

Sweet and Salty reflects the trend towards combining previously separate snacking ingredients.

What we’re seeing now is that the barrier is removed. We dip pretzels in Nutella and eat fruit with a side of popcorn. These tastes are filling up the new-style vending machines too, where our choices are increasing and more information is available​,” according to the snack experts.

Yogurt, Redefined merits a place on the top 10 list because of the​increased health value found with probiotics. Joining Greek yogurt as a healthy snack is now Icelandic yogurt.

Bold flavors are almost becoming more popular; satisfying an urge for extraordinary snacks.

Nostalgia’s New Again was the last taste trend identified by the panel. The snack cake remains as popular as ever with the Hostess Twinkie, the Ding Dong, the TastyKake, and the Little Debbie still enjoying continuing popularity.

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