Matthew Hudak, packaged foods analyst at Euromonitor International, made observations after attending the Sweet & Snacks Expo in Chicago this week – organised by the National Confectioners Association.
In a Euromonitor video blog post, Hudak said that snack makers have developed bold and new flavors that many millennials seem to enjoy.
“A lot of the chip manufacturers seem to be going towards meat-flavored chips like hotdogs, barbecued ribs and steak,” he said.
Things are hotting up…
Hudak also noted that meat snacks are getting spicier. “Anything they can add to it to make it really spicy, really bold seems to be trending with a lot of these companies right now,” he said.
Manufacturers are using jalapeños and other chili variants to heat up the popular meat snack segment, he said.
This year at the Sweet & Snacks Expo, jalapeño-flavored popcorn brand Fire Corn bagged the award for 'most innovative new product' in savory snacks.
Hudak also drew attention to turkey jerky – a new meat snack variant trending at the show.
Hispanic and Asian spice
BakeryandSnacks.com clocked the trend for hot and spicy snacks earlier this year at Snaxpo 2013, and it has been building for a number of years.
Terry Soto, president and CEO of Hispanic-targeted strategy firm About Marketing Solutions, said: “This year alone, heat and authenticity are operative words. There is just this amazing like and appeal for very, very spicy flavors from non-Hispanic consumers.”
Soto said consumers are becoming far more knowledgable on chili varieties and other heat-giving ingredients.
US flavor specialist Symrise also identified a demand for spicy and adventurous flavors in snacks, particularly Asian and Hispanic. It said this trend was being driven by a consumer desire to ‘tongue travel’.
Eileen E. Simons, director of savory applications for North America at the firm, said that millennials were the target for its newly developed Asia flavorings because they are willing to take chances and be creative.