Snack Category Expands with Unique Marketing, Flavor Positioning

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Snacking occasions are endless. From the midnight snack to the midday nosh, the snack category is booming in ways we have never seen. With more than 900 new companies at Natural Products Expo West alone, a record number of made-with-honey snacks were showcased on the show floor this year, and consumers are taking notice. To succeed in a category that’s reaching an arguable saturation point, snack product developers are tasked with finding new ways to market the next best grabable product on supermarket shelves.

Jenny Zegler, Mintel’s director of food and beverage, said at SNAXPO that there are still opportunities for growth in the snacking space, “despite the pervasiveness.” Ten different worldwide markets reported the majority of snackers do so daily, likely multiple times a day, according to Zegler.

With that type of global demand, we’re seeing a few unique ways that honey-sweetened snack developers are positioning themselves to thrive in 2023 and beyond:

Flavor Combinations

Mattson’s “Snack Trends Topline Summary” found that 44% of people love to combine flavors that “one might not think go together but are actually really delicious to you.” One-third of respondents said that they are motivated to snack by searching for a new flavor, and a huge 85% said when eating indulgent snacks, they don’t want to sacrifice flavor.

Snackers who buy better-for-you snacks are also interested in future-friendly ingredients that deliver on taste. NEXTY award finalist Norma’s Elderberry Ginger Snacks are sweetened with honey and get their unique flavor from real ginger and elderberry juice. They’re handcrafted with real fruits and spices that give the snack a brightness, earthiness and warm flavor.

Photo Credit: Norma's
Photo Credit: Biena Snacks

Biena Snacks’ Honey Roasted Chickpea Snacks shouts “new and improved taste” on the packaging. They’re perfectly sweet and salty, thanks to honey and sea salt. For consumers looking for better-for-you positioning in a snack, Honey Roasted Chickpeas are plant-based, gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free, resulting in 4 grams of plant protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Shape Shifting

Consumers are snacking 2.7 times a day on average. Gen Zs and millennials are besting that at five or more snacks a day. Product developers are curbing boredom by branching out from the typical traditional chip shape. 67% of Mattson’s respondents said they want snacks that are fun to eat, and Honey Peanut Oat Crisp by Circ Bites are just that: bite-sized snacks that are gluten-free and provide 31 grams of whole grains, nuts and fruit. Packaged in a five-piece resealable tray, they’re also marketed as “junk-free.”

Photo Credit: Circ Bites

What’s in a Name?

Photo Credit: Unique Snacks

More than half of the Mattson respondents said they eat snacks that add excitement to their diet. And, a snack with a fun, unique name certainly lends itself to the snacking as entertainment category. Unique Snacks’ Honey Mustard Puffzels received a massive amount of press in Q1, appearing in Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, Food Dive and Baking Business. They have a fun name, are sweet and savory, and are light, yet crunchy.

IYA Foods released Honey Kombucha Chipers, a chip in a cracker that gives consumers a crispy, yet crunchy texture. The gluten-free snack gives the vibe of a chip combined with the wholesome ingredients consumers have come to recognize in a cracker.

Photo Credit: IYA Foods

Ready to formulate the next uniquely-positioned honey-sweetened snack to corner the market? Email [email protected] for more information.