The days of bland, dull and boring being words associated with healthy snacking may be coming to an end. Smarter snacking is proving not to be a short-lived health fad, but rather a top priority among a growing number of consumers. According to Automatic Merchandiser’s State of the Industry Report from 2016, snacks categorized as nutritious exhibited a 31.7 percent revenue increase from the year before, the largest increase among snacks included in the annual study.
“The consumer of today is more knowledgeable about the products they purchase,” said Rhonda Dunn, owner and operator of Machine Cuisine Vending in Kingman, AZ. “I do see the trend continuing. The industry really has no choice [in whether to follow suit].”
Additional research over the past several years has consistently shown an increasingly widespread preference for eating healthier. Fifty-four percent of consumers reported a desire for healthy foods and beverages on-the-go in the National Marketing Initiative’s State of Health and Wellness in America 2014 report. In particular, cheese snacking is growing in popularity with Nielson reporting a 45 percent increase in growth in 2015.
“Customers under 35 years old especially demand [healthy foods and beverages] more and more,” said Phil Sikes, president of Gulftex Vending & Coffee Services, Inc. in Clute, TX. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by Welch's Global Ingredients Group and conducted independently by Surveygoo found that 92 percent of American Millennials between the ages 18 and 35 eat "wholesome" snacks in place of a traditional meal at least once a week. About 50 percent surveyed said they replace a meal with a snack about four times a week while 26 percent report they do so up to seven times a week.
Organic Growth And Protein Power
Going organic is also showing staying power. Research from Lightspeed GMI shows 73 percent of consumers are interested in foods labeled organic and over 50 percent of families are buying more organic products than a year ago. However, they finding organic snacks away from home may prove difficult.
Other nutrients, especially protein, are becoming more of a priority for healthy-minded.
“We keep on seeing an up-tick in items that are high end, high flavor and high quality,” said Charlie Giacona, Metro Vending Food Services, Inc., based in Roseville, MI. “It appears that customers aren’t as price conscience with these products as they are with traditional snacks. Well-made, 'clean' protein bars are becoming more mainstream and popular with their perceived health benefits.”
“Micro markets make it easier to offer high protein, organic and healthy snacking because you can only put about four or five of these items on a shelf,” added Randy Williams of Kimble’s Food By Design, LaGrange, GA. “In traditional vending, you had to tie up an entire row with these products, which in most cases meant you had to remove a higher volume product to offer what the client wants, but [not see the return in sales].”
This content is sponsored by WhiteWave Away From Home. Contact your WhiteWave Away From Home representative to learn more about our organic cheese snacking options. 888.620.9910 | whitewaveawayfromhome.com