Healthy Snacks Harder To Find

Big opportunities available for food manufacturers wanting to produce new snack foods.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Among healthy snackers, 44 percent say they tend to eat healthfully most of the time and 42 percent make it a point to snack on foods that are healthy, according to Mintel (www.mintel.com), Chicago. At the same time, indulgence can be part of a well-rounded lifestyle, as 39 percent of healthy snackers say they use less-healthy nibbles as an occasional treat.
 
"Eating healthy snacks can offer many benefits to consumers, such as increased energy and feeling fuller longer, so there is a big opportunity for the makers and marketers of snacks to leverage these connections to maximize health positioning," says Molly Maier, senior wellness analyst. "The number of snackers who only consume healthy treats is a relatively small one, but one that shouldn't be ignored by snack-food manufacturers."
 
Although the definition of "healthy" is very subjective, Mintel respondents seem to have a good grasp on truly healthful foods. Fresh fruit is overwhelmingly (86 percent) considered healthy snacking, followed by raw vegetables (73 percent), and nuts/seeds (71 percent). However, a surprising number of people rated ice cream (12 percent) and cookies (9 percent) as healthy snacks.
 
Snacks are often an impulsive purchase, and one of convenience. Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents say it's hard to find healthy snacks in vending machines or other on-the-go locations while 16 percent believe it takes more time to prepare a healthy snack than other types. "Increasing accessibility and portability can help maximize usage," adds Maier.
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