Sweets & Snacks Expo

Protein snacks ride the healthy indulgence line with familiar flavors

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/urbazon
Source: Getty/urbazon

Related tags Sweets & Snacks Expo protein snacks

Consumers increasingly are seeking convenient and flavorful ways to integrate protein into their diets, particularly as snacking replaces traditional meals among younger demographics, which gives snack makers an opportunity to develop protein-rich snack solutions.

With 50 exhibitors touting protein-rich snacks during Sweets & Snacks Expo last week, brands focused on familiar flavors, underscoring consumers’ desire to reach for taste profiles they already know. According to Circana data​, 83% of consumers report choosing snacks that have a flavor they prefer, highlighting their loyalty to familiar products.

Barebells’ new Cookies & Caramel flavor is a variation of a familiar favorite

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Source: Barebells

With 20 grams of protein, Barebells’ Cookies & Caramel protein bar is an iteration of its existing Cookies & Cream bar. The company showcased during the show the launch of Cookies & Caramel, which combines a cookie and chocolate-flavored core covered in slightly salted caramel and topped with crisps with no added sugar or palm oil.

As Cookies & Cream is one of the company’s “strongest flavors,” the company sought to “[combine] some of its best elements with other interesting flavors and textures, to see if we could come up with something as delicious,” and Cookies & Caramel is “a playful and equally tasty variation of the iconic flavor,” Barebells USA’s Marketing Activation Manager Caitlyn Johnson said in a statement.

The company launched the new flavor on its website and Amazon with plans to reach retailers in the next few months.

Elavi’s high protein brownie is an 'exciting nostalgia for consumers'

Healthy snack maker Elavi expanded its product line of naturally flavored cashew butters with the launch of its high protein brownie in Chocolate Fudge. While the brand showcased the brownie at Sweets & Snacks, the product officially launched on Elavi’s website May 17. 

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Source: Elavi

Elavi Co-Founders, Michelle Razavi and Nikki Elliott, explained to FoodNavigator-USA that they decided to create a high protein, indulgent snack. Elavi’s brownie contains 10 grams of protein, no added sugar and GMO- and gluten-free.

Razavi cited the impetus for developing the brownie was to create an “exciting nostalgia for consumers to enjoy foods that they grew up eating and maybe cannot have, whether it is an allergy or whether it just … trying to eat cleaner.”

She said that adding protein has been “a personal passion of ours,” and that given the popularity of the cashew butters, “we knew our consumers wanted something that they could trust ingredient-wise and taste-wise from us, but also deliver protein” that is convenient.

Elavi uses dates as its “key ingredient” for its product line, a strategic inclusion that provides a cleaner label for the consumer and establishes uniformity for the brand, Elliott said.

“One thing we are really consistent about is we want to create indulgent products that do not have refined sugars or sugar alcohols. We are really excited to use date because it is low glycemic, which means it will not create a blood sugar spike, but still delivers an indulgent taste,” without off notes that can be common on sugar alcohols, Razavi added.

Whisps’ Popped line offers familiar cheese flavor in a new format

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Source: D. Ataman

Whisps focuses on balancing savory and sweet flavors of cheese, meat and fruit for its snack line. The brand presented at the show its baked cheese in a Popped Very Cheddar flavor, which contains 10 grams of protein per serving in 1.7 ounce resealable bags.

The new popped format is a departure from the brand’s other baked cheese crisps, which provides a denser cheese flavor, according to the company.

Whisps also showcased at the show its Protein Snackers, similar to a portable, packaged charcuterie board in Asiago & Pepper Jack, Cranberries and Milano Salami. Each serving contains 11 grams of protein and is gluten-free. The Protein Snackers line also includes a trio of Parmesan, Papaya and Calabrese Salami with 11 grams of protein per serving.


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