These 3 Trends Will Impact the Future of Snacking

Mondelēz International executive shares what’s next for the category.

December 03, 2021

Snacks on the Counter

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Three snacking trends are going to influence the future of snacking, according to Gil Horsky, global innovations director for SnackFutures, the innovation and venture hub for Mondelēz International. The trends are functional ingredients, sustainability and digitization, reports Food Business News.

“You are starting to see ingredients that were maybe more common in the functional space moving into snacks and into food,” Horsky said at Fi Europe earlier this week. “You are starting to see entrepreneurs from the bio tech and pharma space coming into food.”

Functional mushrooms, adaptogens and nootropics are making their way into the snacking category, and Forbes recently pegged these as trends in the plant-based and alternative protein segment as well. SnackFutures released Millie Gram earlier this year—a brand that combines nut butter with powdered mushroom blends, including cordyceps, shiitake, maitake, reishi and lion's mane.

Sustainability in the snacking space can mean how ingredients are grown and sourced, a transparent supply chain and regenerative agriculture.

When it comes to digitalization, the agriculture and food industry remains one of the least-digitized industries, Horsky said. The entire value chain could become digitized, and big data and artificial intelligence could become more prevalent, reports Food Business News.

Mondelēz International recently announced its first-ever virtual store—Mondelēz Lacta, reports Deli Market News. Customers can go through an interactive shopping journey with games and immersive experiences, resulting in significantly longer buying sessions and overall conversion improvements. The store will debut next week.

Mondelēz also told Bloomberg that digital sales of cookies and candy are here to stay. E-commerce sales for the company are up by 30% in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and e-commerce was 20% of total sales in China, aided by partnerships with TikTok and Alibaba, which gave consumers wider online access to its products.

Consumers who were stuck at home became savvier at using e-commerce channels to satisfy their snack cravings, which were a source of comfort as well as a “lifeline during the pandemic,” said Maurizio Brusadelli, executive vice president and president of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Brusadelli says the growth in digital sales will continue even after the pandemic ends because customers are now used to at-home consumption and have shifted toward it. In China, consumers are using e-commerce platforms to shop for biscuits and gum, Indian consumers sought out chocolate and Australians opted for healthier, low-sugar snacks, both online and in stores.

Similarly, Blas Maquivar, president of global emerging markets for Mars Wrigley, sees three trends evolving in the snacking category, including a “digital default” trend. To be agile and innovative during the pandemic, Mars Wrigley has accelerated the building of digital capabilities across its markets, and it has transformed its portfolio to satisfy the consumer from that digital angle.

Increased snacking by pandemic-weary consumers was well documented in 2020. According to Mondelēz International’s State of Snacking report, released late last year, nearly 90% of adults said they were snacking the same or more than before the outbreak. In c-stores, however, slowed foot traffic—as many worked from home—disrupted some of the leading snack categories. Except for candy, all center-store categories lost in-store sales share in 2020 versus 2019, according to NACS State of the Industry data. But c-stores are positioned for recovery. Learn how in “Piece of the Action” in the September 2021 issue of NACS Magazine.