The past year has been extraordinary for the snack industry. Salty snacks have been the No. 2 food item contributing to dollar growth at retailers since March 2020 and have reported a 9.4% growth in earnings with $21 billion in sales over the past year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has helped bolster the growth of the snack market, particularly because consumers say eating their favorite snack makes them feel a sense of normalcy during the crisis. As the pandemic continues into 2021, it’s likely that the snack industry will continue to benefit.
Below, we take a look at some of the top trends in sweets and snacks innovation this year. We also look at how integrated technology built for the food industry can help snack manufacturers ensure they’re able to capitalize on this extraordinary growth and demand.
Top Trends in Snacks
Transparency, personalization and a shift towards plant-based foods are the major snacking trends to watch out for in 2021. These mirror some of trends that will influence the food and beverage industry as a whole. Here’s a closer look:
1. Transparency Triumphs
Three in five global consumers say they are interested in learning more about where their food comes from and how it’s made. As transparency emerged as the top trend, some of the world’s biggest brands are shifting production and marketing efforts to meet evolving ethical, environmental and health concerns using meaningful and creative storytelling.
Puratos, a leader in providing raw materials and expertise to the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors, created a sustainable cocoa sourcing program that focuses on the post-harvest fermentation of cocoa beans to produce superior-tasting chocolate while helping cocoa farmers earn a sustainable living. Industry giant Mondelēz responded to demands for transparency by reformulating some of its products and expanding its retail product lineup to include products that are committed to high standards of ingredient transparency.
According to Innova Market Insights, the brands that are able to connect with consumers in new ways and really drive home the idea of transparency and sustainability will be the ones who succeed. Nature Valley Crunch granola bars, for example, are set to have the first-ever fully recyclable plastic wrapper by this spring. It is part of General Mills’ goal of having 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. This move is in response to a 2019 report on sustainability cited by General Mills, which reports that 70% of people in the U.S. want to decrease plastic waste but don’t know how.
2. Plant Forward
Mainstream interest in plant-based products is continuing to drive expansion to more market categories and regions in 2021. Plant-based food has seen a higher growth rate than general food sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, with plant-based sales up 90% in mid-March of 2020 compared to the year prior.
Consumers are demanding new formats for plant-based snacks as well as new plant-proteins and trends toward more indulgent plant-based items. This is powering new product development to include natural and free-from benefits in areas such as chocolate, extruded snacks and nut mixes.
Plant-based snack food company Outstanding Foods recently raised $10 million in funding to coincide with the outstanding growth in plant-based snacking. Top snack brands like PepsiCo and Nestlé are also committed to shifting their food portfolios in response to growing demand in plant-based alternatives.
3. Tailored to Fit
Personalized nutrition continues to be of importance to consumers with 64% of them finding more ways to tailor the products they buy to their individual style, beliefs and needs. In the cereal and snack bar market, for example, brands targeting key areas of interest including performance, protein-filled or weight management are continuing to see success as well as those that are aimed at specialty diets such as keto, organic or vegan.
How ERP for Snack Manufacturers Helps
To capitalize on the extraordinary growth in the snack industry, leading manufacturers turn to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to streamline operations and manage growth. ERP for snack manufacturers helps companies optimize batch processing, segregate allergens and streamline traceability processes to ensure success.
FoodBusiness ERP offers out-of-the-box functionality for food and beverage manufacturers. It is a single solution to manage your business including production and operations, finance, food safety, compliance, quality, traceability and more. To learn how FoodBusiness ERP can help your snack business maximize growth, check out our customer story on Elmer Candy or reach out to us. We’d love to chat.