Baking sheet of cheesy tortilla chips with chopped chilies, herbs and avocado

The serial-snacking society

May 27, 2020 | Snack

The ‘big night in’ trend driving demand for snacks in shareable formats1 prior to COVID-19 is showing no signs of abating through this ‘new normal’. UK sales in March for share bags alone grew 16% while single pack sales fell by 4.1%.2 With many consumers seeking ‘pick me up’ moments, it is predicted there will also be a rise for indulgent categories such as chocolate and ice-cream.3

Manufacturers are adept at finding ways to satisfy consumer demand for snacking and indulgent eating experiences by providing an array of shareable snacking formats, such as XL share bags of crisps and chocolates plus sweet and savoury dipping snacks.  

57% of UK consumers are now choosing to replace meals with snacks1 and, with snacks emerging to replace breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is becoming increasingly easy for consumers to ditch traditional mealtimes and instead graze throughout the day. 

Health remains a priority

While the sharing bag trend continues to accelerate, consumers are also seeking healthier snacking alternatives. 

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Google searches for food products with immune-boosting claims have increased, indicating that consumers are craving feel-good snacks with health credentials, so they can snack guilt-free.4 To make on-trend claims such as low sugar and high in protein, manufacturers are challenged to find suitable sweetener solutions and plant-based ingredients.

In a crowded market where innovation is high, ingredient solutions are just one part of the puzzle. The market is now seeing growth in finding alternative ways of cooking snacks, including baking rather than frying resulting in products such as chickpea puffs. These lighter, more healthy snacks also enables attractive nutritional on pack claims. 

As consumers continue to demand higher nutritional values, clean labels and exciting product formulations, manufacturers understand the need for increasing agility and innovation.

Pile of ridged crisps with sea salt and herbs on brown paper with sandwiches and knife

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1 Grocery Trader (March 2017) “The big night in phenomenon.”

2 The Grocer (April, 2020) “Netflix and crisps: crisps, nuts & bagged snacks category report 2020.”

3 AHDB (April 2020) “How will Covid-19 lockdown impact our eating habits?”

4 Mintel (March 2020) “COVID-19 drives interest in nutritious food, but mood boost connotations can benefit treats.”