Consumers Moving Away from Old Definitions of Healthy Snacks

Published online: May 01, 2018 Articles Ioana Oancea
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Source: Potato Business

Snacking is central to the strategy of food companies, with explosive growth in the number of new such products launched between 2010 and 2017: 125 percent in Europe and 47 percent in North America. 

According to a new report from New Nutrition Business, Strategies in Healthy Snacking, this also means that the healthy snacking segment is now an intensely competitive and crowded.

“Companies have to work even harder to create a product that brings a real point of difference for the consumer,” says Julian Mellentin, author of the report.

Commenting on what consumers are looking for when they ask for healthy potato snacks, Mellentin says: “Consumers are moving away from old definitions of healthy such as reduced fat and reduced salt – reduced salt is of interest only to a minority of people aged 65 or older. Potato snacks are primarily about indulgence and pleasure and bringing health benefits mustn’t lose sight of this fact”.

Mellentin adds that a clean label is also important for the customers. “The most interesting benefit is “naturalness”, such as the absence of artificial additives and colors, and many brands have found success by making their products look handmade/artisanal.

There are some high-margin healthy niches, however, such as chips with added protein targeting young males interested in sports and fitness. An example is Novo Easy Protein Chips in the UK, which provide 10grams of whey protein per 30-gram pack.

No Limits for Innovation 

The report outlines 10 strategies for success in healthy snacking, illustrated with 15 case studies of healthy snacking brands in the US and Europe.

Creative NPD and innovation are key for success in snacking, says Mellentin.  

“The businesses that are proving successful are the ones that are creating new markets with differentiated snack concepts, often using new ingredients and processes, and selling them under new brands and messages,” he says, referring to all types of snacks products.  

Today’s consumers are all food explorers, willing to adopt into their lives foods and flavors that would have seemed strange 10 years ago – and willing to pay more for them. 


This is the new normal in the healthy snack category. Brands that deliver an innovative snack product, targeted at the ever-fragmenting consumer preferences, can command premium prices. All of the 15 case study brands included in the report sell at a significant premium of up to 830% compared to mass-market brands.

Leveraging technology: New ways of processing natural ingredients and new packaging technologies are behind the success of many new snack concepts.

Consumers’ ideas about what is healthy are becoming ever more diverse and this is creating a wealth of white spaces for new snack products. However, in a more competitive sector than ever before, it’s crucial that companies look hard at which strategies have proven successful for snack brands and which ones they can apply to their business.