How Healthy Indulgent Flavors Are Taking Shape

Although indulgent snacking is here to stay, better-for-you snacking is a growing trend. As is the case for all other categories of food, packaged snack foods are reflecting an increase in healthy, natural, and organic product subcategories. The better-for-you snacking trend is being driven in part by millennials, who have a strong demand for healthier snack foods, often looking for products with fewer ingredients and ingredients they recognize. Millennial parents are also a big part of the movement, choosing healthier snacks for their kids and paving the way for a new generation of more health-conscious eaters.


What we’re seeing is not so much plain, natural snacks such as fruit and nuts but rather healthier twists on traditional favorites. Hiding vegetables and fruits in foods is a popular option, with foods such as zucchini breads, black bean brownies, and avocado ice cream getting more attention than ever. The need for tasty and convenient snacks is not decreasing–instead, companies reconfigured these snacks to accommodate more nutrients and healthier ingredients.


Including snack foods within meals is another healthy-snacking trend gaining traction. More and more people are incorporating traditional snacks such as yogurt and fresh fruit into their regular meals. Food companies can capitalize on this trend by developing snack-like meals and products such as meat snacks with vegetables (think alternatives to trail mix or jerky such as snack pouches filled with slow-cooked turkey and crunchy veggies) and granola bars featuring natural ingredients.


This new trend is a significant shift for businesses in the snack food sector because, traditionally, consumers view snacks as less-healthy treats for occasional indulging. There’s still plenty of room in the marketplace for indulgent snacks, but younger generations are emerging as the most health-conscious yet–and the most educated about nutrition. Interest has skyrocketed in ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, turmeric, jackfruit, cauliflower rice, avocado oil, and bone broth.


Manufacturers who wish to target young adults may benefit from highlighting the health benefits of their products and reformulating existing products to include probiotics and other super-healthy components. Natural flavor ingredients are an important part of creating the tastes that you want in your snack foods and getting optimal results as you experiment with flavor combinations.