Sweets & Snacks Expo

Sweets and snacks defend sales as interest in GLP-1 medications rise by expanding better-for-you indulgent products

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: D. Ataman
Source: D. Ataman

Related tags Sweets & Snacks Expo GLP-1 Healthy snacks

Rivalz’s stuffed, vegan snacks could deliver the satiety effects of GLP-1 medications and meets USDA guidelines for healthy snacks distributed in schools thanks to patented extrusion technology that creates vegan fillings packed with protein and fiber, company CEO Peter Barrick told FoodNavigator-USA during the Sweets & Snacks Expo lasts week.

As GLP-1 medication use continues to grow across the country, sweets and snacks are the most affected, explained Leigh Newland O’Donnell, head of shopper and category insights at Kantar Retail North America during her session ‘GLP-1 and how it may disrupt your brand.'

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Source: D. Ataman

The prevalence of GLP-1s is expected to impact $6bn in uneaten food sales this year with 46% of users reporting they intend to make better food choices and 43% who said they are overeating less, O’Donnell said, citing results from Kantar’s GLP-1 syndicated study.

While 38% of GLP-1 consumers are snacking less, 75% say that treats are still important sometimes, which is a significant opportunity for brands to connect with this growing segment through better-for-you indulgent snacks.

As younger consumers are opting out of the traditional three-meals-a-day, Barrick predicts that “purposeful nutrition” in snacking will play a larger role in the category.

“When they are snacking, they are demanding more from their snacks. … So, we have developed a product that is nutrient dense, it is delicious and it can satisfy the consumer. They want to be energized and … satiated throughout their day,” he said.

Rivalz's ingredient list could align with GLP-1 users' snacking habits, achieves USDA Smart Snack status

He explained Rivalz's extrusion technology, which allows the company to create vegan fillings packed with protein and fiber and encased in a crunchy vegetable layer, and its ingredient list could align with the satiety effects of GLP-1 medications, helping consumers feel fuller longer and providing additional growth opportunities for the young brand. 

“We figured out how to extrude high protein, high fiber, low carbohydrates out of the extruder. The reason why that is so important is the extruder loves [potato and corn] carbohydrates and we figured out how to get the same cell structure and expansion rate as high carb products by extruding protein and fiber,” Barrick said.

The results? A snack with 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 9 grams of carbohydrates “with a low glycemic impact” across its three comfort food-inspired flavors, Extra Chedda’ Mac, Late Night Pizza and Spicy Street Taco, Barrick said.

He cited GLP-1 medications as a “big discussion item,” that is “here to stay,” and Rivalz’s nutrition content serves as a potentially helpful snack with “a low glycemic load.”

While research around side effects of GLP-1 medications is ongoing, Barrick noted effects could include muscle mass loss, which Rivalz could counter by providing “a high quality, adjustable protein to help maintain muscle mass.”

He added that because of Rivalz health halo around GLP-1 users, the brand saw a “spike in sales,” noting its No. 1 status in Pop Up Grocer in New York City “with 52 units per store per week," in the last two quarters.

The brand also addresses the healthy snack void in schools with USDA Smart Snack-approved options​. These guidelines ensure lower calories, limited sugar and a focus on nutrients. 

Meeting the USDA Smart Snack Compliance is an opportunity for Rivalz to “meet K through 12 snack [standards]” and “gives us an [advantageous] market opportunity to expand across the United States and school districts,” Barrick said.

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