Truly Good Foods released their annual snack food trend report, which highlights the biggest snack food trends predicted for the coming year. Throughout the predictions there are underlying themes of an increased acceptance of plant-based options, as well as preferences for innovative flavors and personalized nutrition.
Here are the snack food trend predictions for 2020:
Unique Fruit Flavors
Fruity flavors are taking a turn to the exotic. Especially popular in beverages and candies, the flavor trends are moving beyond traditional fruits and highlighting more unusual flavors. Coming from an overseas influence, we’re seeing fruits like yuzu, lychee, blood orange, prickly pear, calamansi (a hybrid between a kumquat and mandarin orange) Meyer lemon, and Japanese plum.
As a grain-free lifestyle becomes more popular, alternative flours are hitting the mainstream and you can expect to see even more versions this coming year. Popular for a few years in pre-made cauliflower crust pizzas, cauliflower flour will be available in bulk and packaged for the consumer to experiment in the kitchen with. Some other interesting alternative flours going mainstream this year include banana flour, chickpea flour, Tigernut (a root vegetable) flour, coconut flour, nut flours (almond, cashew, macadamia, etc), and sorghum flour.
Mood Boosted Food
Foods and beverages featuring mood-boosting ingredients are on the rise this year as consumers want those added benefits from their snacks. Mood-boosting ingredients are being featured on packaged snacks and restaurants are even testing special menus to shift one’s mood in a particular way.
More Nut Butters
Similar to gluten-free alternative flours, nut butters are getting more unique options to compete with peanut butter. These plant-based butters avoid peanut allergies and many of them also eliminate the use of palm oil. New nut and seed butters could be made from watermelon seeds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, and coconut.
Adventurous consumers are highly receptive to hybrid products. As food companies feel the pressure for creative flavor innovation to attract consumers’ attention and boost sales, they’ve taken to mixing and matching among flavors and categories. A lot of these hybrid flavors are being rolled out with limited-time releases which enhances the uniqueness of the experience. Food launches with a limited-batch claim have increased by 36% over the past several years, according to Innova.
More Than A Flavor
Consumer demand for unique experiences will move beyond flavor to include texture more this year. 70% of consumers said texture gives food a more interesting experience and although texture is a key element of how food is experienced, it doesn’t get as much attention as some of the other senses. Often when texture is commented upon in food, it’s in a negative way such as not liking the texture of a food item.
Playing up texture can make existing products more exciting and new products can highlight textures for a fun, new experience. Consumer demand for something new and different is predicted to increase, to be reflected in more product launches with textural claims. Because not many brands focus on their product’s texture, it can be a great point of differentiation in crowded categories, like snacks.
For color trends this year, the palette is moving from warm to cool with blues and greens spotlighted in dishes and packaged snacks. Colorful ingredient options include blue algae, beets, matcha, and butterfly pea flower tea, which changes color from blue to purple when acidity is added to it.
Food and beverage products featuring a plant-based claim posted an average annual growth rate of 68% over the past five years, according to Innova. The plant-based revolution is no longer just about finding meat-free alternatives for vegans and vegetarians. Now, plant-based products are being enjoyed by the general meat-eating population who are trying to cut down their meat consumption. Interest in plant-based foods and beverages is aligned with sustainability, another top trend for 2020.
According to an Innova report, close to 90% of global consumers said they expect companies to invest in sustainability, up 22% from last year. When it comes to sustainability, studies have shown that older consumers care more about food waste and younger consumers care more about plastic waste. The heightened focus on single-use plastics is no longer just a trend relegated to certain states, but a reality that goes beyond the purge of plastic straws.