Snacks under pressure: Strategies to stand out above the rest

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Differentiate your product. Pic: ©GettyImages/Andreyuu
Differentiate your product. Pic: ©GettyImages/Andreyuu
Snacking is big business and the sector has seen the number of new products launched dramatically increase in the past seven years.

Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD) reports Europe saw a 125% rise in new snacks launched between 2010 and 2017, while the number rose by 47% in North America during the same period.

However, this does mean the market is now crowded, putting intense pressure on new product developers to ensure their product stands out.

“Companies have to work even harder to create a product that brings a real point of difference for the consumer,”​ says Julian Mellentin, author of Strategies in Healthy Snacking, a new report from New Nutrition Business.

The report outlines a series of strategies to stand out in the healthy snacking sector, illustrated with 15 case studies of healthy snacking brands in the US and Europe.

Consumer diversity drives snacking opportunities

Innovation, innovation, innovation

Firstly, creative NPD and innovation is key.

“The businesses that are proving successful are the ones that are creating new markets with differentiated snack concepts, often using new ingredients and processes, and selling them under new brands and messages,”​ said Mellentin.

Will consumers pay more for your brand?

Premiumization today is the new norm, especially as today’s consumers are all food explorers and willing to pay more for something that brings out their adventurous spirit.

According to the report, it is those brands that deliver an innovative snack product, targeted at the ever-fragmenting consumer preferences, which are able to command premium prices.

The report highlights Biena, for example, which commands a 212% premium for its roasted chickpea snacks – a new concept that most Americans had never heard of.

“Chickpeas have been very much on trend. Hummus brands have done a great job of educating American consumers for 10-plus years, and we definitely have benefited from that foundation. But most people have never heard of roasted chickpeas and are coming across this type of snack for the first time,”​ said Biena’s founder, Poorvi Patodia.

New take on old tricks

Another takeaway highlighted by the report is to leverage technology – that is, develop new ways of processing natural ingredients and new packaging technologies.

To highlight this, the report notes GLK Foods – America’s largest producer of sauerkraut and pickles sold in jars – tapped into the snackification trend by repacking its pickled vegetables in a snack-sized format. The ‘new’ product was branded Oh Snap!, given a twist with modern, fresh flavors – like Hot & Spicy – and packaged into convenient, resealable packs.

Health trend is here to stay

Finally, while the health and wellness trend is not a new concept, consumer ideas about what is healthy are becoming ever more diverse, creating a wealth of white spaces for new snack products.

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