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NEW YORK -- Americans increased interest in health is causing a shift in the types of snack foods they buy, driving the market -- which saw $61 billion in sales last year -- toward healthier products, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.
The report, Snack Food Trends in the U.S., shows that this shift has been a boon for such healthy items, such as yogurt, which leads in dollar growth with gains of $721 million. Food bars and nut snacks also saw healthy gains during the five-year period in which greater emphasis has been placed on nutritional tags such as "no trans fat" and "nothing artificial."
"In the last five years, snacking overall has increased by 1.5 percent as the trend for meals being replaced by snacks continues to grow," said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "Consumers are serious about these 'meals' being healthy. Simultaneously, manufacturers are serious about meeting consumer, watchdog, and governmental demands to make snacks more nutritious -- particularly those aimed at kids. These factors are driving a fundamental industry shift which should expand it while making snacking healthier."
Carefree snacking is not occurring as frequently, according to plummeting sales in certain segments. Cookies and bakery snacks have suffered the most, with sales down $334 million from 2001-2005. The crackers and popcorn/rice cakes segments each experienced losses of $45 million.
The new report examines the sweet and salty snack market, and also includes candy, fruit snacks, dried meat snacks, and gelatin/pudding cups. Individual chapters focus on trends in healthy and kids' snacks.