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Snacks, Candy Focus on Healthier, On-the-Go Opportunities

From ingredients to format, snacks and candy are increasingly portable.
June 19, 2017

​CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As snacking continues to increase among all consumer groups, especially millennials, snack companies are adapting to the focus on healthier, portable products, Progressive Grocer reports. “Due to increased health awareness and education, more and more consumers are seeking clean-label products made with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives,” said Eric Van Der Wal, vice president of marketing at Clearview Foods, the healthier snack department of Snyder’s-Lance Inc. “Gluten-free, organic and products made with non-GMO ingredients are becoming particularly popular.”

“We are seeing more emphasis on the nutrition value, ingredients and smaller serving sizes in candy and snacks,” added Rob Auerbach, president of CandyRific. “It’s in perfect harmony with what is going on in the mainstream grocery.”

In candy, miniatures have been popular lately. “The bite-sized category is projected to grow as ‘treating’ becomes more prevalent, especially with millennials,” Larry Lupo, vice president of sales for grocery, convenience and drug channels for Mars Chocolate North America, said. “Shoppers are looking for bite-sized treats that are easy to consume and offer portion control in a portable, resealable format.”

Another trend is marrying sweet with crunchy. Innovations like Hershey’s and Reese’s Crunchers and Reese’s Dipped Pretzels, “deliver a sweet treat with a crunchy texture,” said Dave Nolen, senior director of category strategy and insights at The Hershey Company.

Overall sales dollars have been rising in the snack category, driven by healthier subcategories, according to Nielsen. “Snack Factory has added a number of quality better-for-you snack options to our product portfolio in the past year,” Van Der Wal said. “As the snacking category continues to grow, more and more foods are being consumed on the go, pushing companies to provide more real-food, nutritious snack options.”