Lockdowns, work-from-home and travel restrictions have facilitated consumers to expand their taste and “travel the world” with their snacking and flavour choices. Consumers have also expanded their knowledge and awareness about the significance of health and have shifted towards a more health conscious diet. Freshness, low sugar, mini bites, functional nutrition, high protein, sustainable, organic and natural ingredients are the trending themes consumers keep an eye for when it comes to food intake.
Lockdown and Mental Health
Lockdowns can be hard. Therefore, it is of no doubt that consumers opt for nostalgic and comforting flavours such as chocolate, vanilla and citrus. It is important to note that consumers prefer these flavours from natural and sustainable sources and indulge in a guilt-free sense of comfort.
The Covid-19 pandemic gave immense importance to mental wellness and mood elevation. Stress, uncertainty and social distancing have entailed consumers to choose snacking with ingredients that produce “mood-enhancing” hormones like the hormones attained from socialising such as oxytocin, which is responsible for decreasing anxiety and stress levels and enhances the mood. Snacking trends that revolve around foods such as avocados, vegetables, citrus, peppers, tomatoes and so on.
Lockdown Led to a Change in Snacking
Many consumers are improving their diet to improve their immune system and are accelerating towards a proactive health management system.
Flavour profiles associated with functional benefits like fruits and botanicals are trending. ‘Food as medicine’ mindset has upped the demand for functional foods. Consumers prefer snacks with added nutrients such as protein bars and nutritional beverages. Immunity boosting snacks with ingredients such as turmeric, cranberries and ginger are gaining popularity. Kombucha and hemp are trending in Europe.
Plant-based snacks are on the rise. The global plant-based snacks market was valued at USD 34.69 billion in 2019 and is forecasted to reach USD 73.61 billion by 2028. The vegan snacking market is constantly improving its technology and innovative products from almond milk yogurt to vegan protein bars, targeting the health conscious consumers. Snacks that use conventional crisp-making methods such as deep-fried chicken are replaced by air-fried cauliflower that claims to taste just like deep-fried chicken by health conscious consumers.
Lockdown and a sense to explore
As the idea of “staying at home” augments, people find more time exploring the global food types and sense the world through food. Interests towards flavours such as Masala, Miso, and Texas BBQ is rising in the snacking category.
Many consumers crave for excitement during the lockdown period. Trying different flavoured snacks is one way to please the excitement. Limited-edition snacking products with adventurous flavours in mini-sizes are a low risk approach to experiment with flavour innovations for both the consumers and the manufacturers. Many ice cream manufacturers are planning to come up with nutritional ice creams such as Chawanprash ice cream and Wheatgrass ice cream in India.
With all the free time during the lockdown, many consumers have tried their hand at ‘home baking’. The “everything-is-a-cake” trend lead to a rise in demand for food colouring. Health conscious consumers have been using flour-less recipes, plant based recipes and other healthy alternative baked snacks. Organic flavouring plays a major part in these hobbies.
Indulgent eating with wellness at core will continue to become popular. Sustainable nutrition from natural sources, incorporating simple and easily recognizable ingredients will remain consumer focus in the coming years too. High time, brands realized the tremendous market for these trends ahead.