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The following is an online exclusive and companion piece to Healthier Sales, which appears in PG's October issue.
One thing's for certain: Healthier snacking trends are here to stay. The companies Progressive Grocer spoke with for the October 2014 grocery article "Healthier Selling," were of one mind regarding the continued growth of better-for-you noshes, pointing to major factors they believe will have an impact on the segment, including convenience and portability, sourcing, the inspiration of flavors from around the world, better-informed shoppers, various certifications relating to items' ingredients, and premium products.
Joe Driscoll, VP of Marketing, Angie's Boomchickapop
"Choice, transparency, education and awareness –- that’s what consumers want more of and what we plan to offer. Better snacking is on the rise, and we will continue offering better-for-you options to satisfy any and all tastes and lifestyles. Making intentional decisions about food choices is something we are excited to be at the forefront of, and we love that consumers are paying attention to this."
Paul Pruett, CEO of Mediterra
"Mediterra is one of the leaders as it relates to innovating the snack segment. … We plan to add further profiles in the savory category, and we expect to see the healthy snack category continue to grow."
David Levine, CEO of NuGo Nutrition
"The consumer is demanding healthier products. The retailer should be de-emphasizing the old-line high-sugar, high-fat products, and embracing more protein products that are geared to the varied consumer lifestyle trends and … better for you. 'Non-GMO,' 'gluten-free' and 'vegan' are some of the terms that will encourage the shopper to spend more dollars at retailers' stores."
María Becerra Gómez, Marketing Department, Olives from Spain
"We're going to start seeing consumers engaging in more snacking opportunities, both at home and away from home. And with Millennial shoppers making up a growing percentage of grocery retail sales, we expect snacking trends [will] reflect their distinct preferences: premium quality, delicious global flavors, nutrient-dense, social and sharable."
Marc Seguin, CMO of Popchips
"We will continue to see a pipeline of the 'next big thing,' whether it's an ancient grain or an exotic ingredient. Consumers are looking for premium and new, in addition to variety, so staying ahead of and dictating trends will be a competitive advantage. There will also be a focus in the category for on-the-go and meal replacement snacking. Brands that can optimize their offerings in terms of product and even packaging will realize additional growth."
Scott Jensen, President and CEO of Rhythm Superfoods
"We will see a continued focus on … nutrient-dense, often healthy vegetable- and fruit-based snacks; tasty better-for-you options in a more portable [format] is our focus right now. The people to whom healthy snacks cater are mainly the ones who are active and constantly on the go –- to be successful, our products must match their busy lifestyles."
Genelle Chetcuti, Director of Marketing, RW Garcia
"Shoppers are increasingly seeking out products that are better for them and for the planet, and as a company at the forefront of providing those types of products, we only expect that trend to continue. Shoppers like purchasing and consuming products they can feel good about, and we don't see that changing any time soon. We will continue to place a premium on using only the finest, most wholesome ingredients and will continue to seek out certifications that validate those efforts, such as Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, and USDA Organic."
Rod Troni, CMO of Snyder's-Lance Inc.
"Continued expansion in fast-growing new categories, like gluten-free, popcorn and vegetable snacks, and a focus on origin, especially around natural and local ingredients, as well as on the Big 8 allergens, [with] both of these trends … driven by consumers' need for transparency, and advocacy groups drawing increased attention to their issues. Snyder's of Hanover will take [its] gluten-free pretzel leadership into new forms, sizes and flavors to reach a broader array of consumers."
For global insights into the overall snacking category, and what they mean for marketers, read PG's article on the results of Nielsen's global snacking study and the expert column on worldwide snacking habits by Nielsen's James Russo.