Snacks promote health and reduce stress

Distracted eating is something many know all too well. Someone is having a bad day, walks into the kitchen and suddenly an entire sleeve of Girl Scout cookies is missing.

Whoops. There is another “snaccident”. It was the quintessential, tension-ridden coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic snack, said Hartman Group senior vice president of operations Davey McHenry. People were at home and didn’t know what tomorrow would bring.

“You’re not paying attention, and the next thing you know, it’s gone. ‘I am stressed. I’m frustrated. I snack for comfort,” Ms. McHenry said at the recent SNAC International gathering, SNX. “At the start of the pandemic, things were uncertain and we were stuck at home with limited options. We have seen many consumers revert to eating habits they had as children because of this convenience. We’ve had consumers say, “I bought blue cheese macaroni not for the kids, but for myself because I needed something to feel better about.” ”

Americans are big on snacking. Half of the eating done in the United States today is snack-based, said Melissa Abbott, vice president of restraint services for The Hartman Group. Snack makers are courting them with flavor innovations, limited time offers (LTOs) and more.

“Our snack really anchors us more than in other cultures,” Ms Abbott said. “It’s culturally more acceptable to snack anywhere and anytime compared to other cultures. You’ll see people eating on the street, at Home Depot, literally eating at the hot bar of a Whole Foods, then walking around the store and getting their groceries.

People snack for many reasons and to meet a variety of needs. Ms. McHenry divided it into four categories: nourishment, optimization, pleasure and distraction.

Consumers tend to start their days and weeks on a positive note, snacking for food and nourishment. This includes finding foods that will give them sustained energy, such as a high-protein bar that has minimal sugar or a snack that provides healthy fats. Optimization involves snacking to help boost energy, relieve anxiety, or help with mental focus, such as snacking with ashwagandha.

Ms Abbott added that Americans are looking to snacking to help improve nutrition by mimicking meals.

“Our snack is just as important as our meals in American culture,” she said. “So we’re looking to fill those gaps with nutrition, whether it’s fiber, protein, good fats, healthy carbs. We seek to ensure that our snacks are representative of what should appear at mealtimes. »

However, during a recent webinar, Sally Lyons Wyatt, IRI’s executive vice president and practice leader, said the company’s research found that consumers are buying really indulgent snacks.

“Everyone told me before the research, ‘I guarantee you, you’ll be fine/well-being,'” she said in IRI’s webinar, “Seesaw State of US Snacking.” “Well, surprise. It was really all around reward, indulgence and treatment that continued into 2021 versus 2020. It really shows that balance that consumers were making in 21 as well as 20 between eating well but also treating and reward. And processing and reward is really where we’ve seen a lot of growth. This does not mean, however, that the indulgence and welfare allowed has not increased from a dollar perspective. They did, but you can see they were losing from a unity perspective.

Many big snack makers have found themselves in the winners’ column when it comes to recent sales. Hostess Brands Inc., Lenexa, Kansas; Frito-Lay North America, Plano, TX; Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, Mich.; and Hershey Co., Derry Township, Pennsylvania, recently reported that their snack brands have helped companies recover financially, with most brands citing innovation as a key driver of growth.

“Our largest portfolio segment, Developed Market Snacks, continued to deliver strong growth driven by world-class brands such as Pringles, Cheez-It and others,” said Steven A. Cahillane, President and Chief Executive Officer. from Kellogg, in a May 5 statement. conference call with investment analysts. “And our emerging markets have collectively sustained double-digit growth.”

In prepared remarks for its first quarter results, Frito-Lay said many of its major trusted brands generated strong growth in the quarter, with Doritos, Lay’s, Ruffles and Cheetos each posting double-digit growth in net income.

“Variety-pack offerings continued to grow net revenue at double-digits as consumer demand for portion control, variety and convenience remained strong,” the statement said. “Frito-Lay also continued to expand its trusted big brands while delivering consumer-centric flavor and texture innovations with Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch and Lay’s Layers. »

This article is an excerpt from the June 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full article on snacks, click here.