Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com at Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago this week, Euromonitor market analyst Matthew Hudak said popcorn and thins were the snacks of the moment.
“Popcorn – there are popcorn companies galore here… The big notable one is obviously Skinny Pop, which has been growing incredibly fast in the US along with Popcorn Indiana,” he said. Both companies had developed a host of new flavors, he said, including sriracha – the fastest-growing hot source in the country.
“If one person is doing well, there’s always the chance that a lot of companies are going to jump on, and Skinny Pop certainly did very well,” he said.
Snacking without guilt: Low calorie, all-natural indulgence
Hudak said the appeal of popcorn was also related to health. It was a low calorie, indulgent snack, he said, that seemed all-natural to consumers.
Asked if popcorn had shifted away from traditional indulgence, he said it was certainly the case in most instances and healthy variants held most growth promise.
“There’s definitely a lot that are going with as all natural as possible; as low calorie as possible per cup,” he said.
However, he said companies had mixed in some more indulgent varieties, including chocolate drizzled and extra cheese.
Make it thinner! Thins, compressed cookies
In addition to the popcorn blast, Hudak said ‘thins’ or compressed cookies and pretzel crisps had gained traction in the marketplace.
“Again, I think that’s hitting on a calorie content thing. They’re very light and easy to snack on; you don’t really feel like you’re indulging too much.”
For 2014 Hudak said the snack trend would be “indulgence without the guilt” – a trend that popcorn and ‘thin’ snack varieties played into perfectly.
Manufacturers, he said, would then start to innovate and experiment with new flavor varieties of these products.