Snack Market Innovations

Suppliers look to lure consumers with new products, flavors amid a dip in consumption.

July 08, 2019

NEW YORK—Data from NPD Group Inc. show that consumers ate 3% fewer servings of protein bars and other healthy snacks in the first quarter of 2019, while sweet snack consumption fell 1% and savory snack consumption only increased 0.4%.

But when you look more generally, overall snack sales rose alongside the rest of the food industry, and research firm Mintel projects that the U.S. snack market will grow to $180 billion by 2022.

So major snack companies are still innovating and looking to expand, despite increased competition from smaller brands, private labels and delivery options.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mondelez International Inc., which makes Triscuits and Oreos, established a group called SnackFutures, focused on investing in snack startups and developing new brands, and recently struck a deal to acquire a majority stake in a refrigerated nutrition-bar maker.

Companies like Hershey Co. are turning to acquisitions to boost their snack lineup. Conagra is seeing its snack brands like Slim Jim and Boomchikapop popcorn, gain traction.

“When we come out with products that are convenient, that consumers love and that satisfy consumer needs, we’re successful,” Andrew Callahan, chief executive at Hostess Brands Inc., told the Wall Street Journal.

The slight dip last year was seen as a warning sign since shoppers can choose from an array of smaller brands, private labels and convenient full-meal delivery options.