Food trends are always changing, but there has one clear pattern we have been seeing in recent years: classic snacks reinvented as "better-for-you" alternatives. The healthy snack market is currently valued at $85.6 billion and is continuing to gain momentum with plant-based sweeteners, oils, and protein powders. But what caused this increase in popularity? We’d say that the pandemic is a major factor in the demand for healthy snack alternatives. For over 2 years, the pandemic has affected consumers’ lifestyle and food choices, highlighting an increased focus on health and wellbeing all across the board as consumers aim to lead healthier lives.
Many food brands and businesses are stepping into this market to capture consumer interest and grab a piece of this growing pie. With this in mind, we break down the current industry trends and what we predict is to come. We’ll show you how to get ahead of the curve and how you can be a part of this healthier food revolution.
Right now, the baked goods market is on the rise as more and more consumers seek out baked goods that are good-for-you yet still delicious. In fact, many millennials are yearning for their childhood so we are seeing them gravitate towards types that instill nostalgia like toaster pastries and cookies. Because of this clear demand for nostalgic treats, we’re seeing a distinct trend in the CPG industry towards the return of many old favorites but with a healthier spin. As a matter of fact, many brands like Smart Sweets, Legendary Foods, and Magic Spoon are finding favorable outcomes within the millennial market as they release reinvented versions of the snacks we know and love.
So, what are some of the classic snacks coming back in full force? Toaster pastries, cookies, rice crispy treats, brownies & cake squares, cinnamon rolls and cereal puffs are among the top nostalgic snacks consumers look for. Because we all grew up with these snacks, consuming them as adults bring us a sense of serenity and joy, especially during a busy workweek. I mean who doesn’t miss those days when you would throw a Pop-Tarts® into a toaster for a mid-day snack?
Although many consumers think that these treats are generally unhealthy, your brand can spruce things up by incorporating functional, anti-inflammatory, good-for-you ingredients, such as plant-based sweeteners, protein powders, MCT oils, and more. This new take on ingredients offers consumers a much healthier way to indulge in their old favorites. Additionally, each of these snacks can be turned into a better-for-you treat with new and advanced R&D processes and equipment. With the right choice of ingredients, access to a food innovation kitchen, and the assistance of an experienced co-manufacturer, any recipe can be adapted for a healthier consumer base without sacrificing its flavor.
The Better-For-You Bakery Revolution: What’s Next?
In the years to come, we expect this trend of “better-for-you” nostalgic snacks to only continue. In fact, both market analysts and snack aficionados can agree that this trend, specifically around baked goods, is here to stay. We’ll see healthy versions of bakery-type products like doughnuts, churros, cinnamon rolls, and croissants enter the market due to their strong connections to nostalgia. For example, churros spark the feeling of when you were a kid at an amusement park while donuts are reminiscent of those days after school when you and your friends would eat them as snacks and hang out. These feelings of youth combined with familiar flavors and healthier ingredients will capture the hearts of consumers of all ages and leave them wanting more.
We’re going to see these baked types formulated for all the hottest specialty diets, such as high-protein, keto, paleo, low-sugar, and more. It won’t be surprising to see brands innovating with adaptogenic and immunity-boosting ingredients and processes (i.e. baking donuts instead of frying) as ways to stand out against other competitors.
To keep up with the current trend in the industry, food visionaries who want to increase their sales and market share should think about partnering with a co-packer that can bring their vision and ideas to life. The right partner will have all the newest technologies and resources to create your delicious treats.
In the coming years, we expect to see a revolution in the bakery space, with newer, healthier formulations of nostalgic treats entering the market. Doughnuts, churros, cinnamon rolls, and croissants are at the top of our predictions, but there may be other product types that fit into this “nostalgia” trend. As a food entrepreneur, it is crucial to keep your eyes open to the possibilities.
To ensure you’re staying on top of the industry trends, consider working with a strategic partner, like YouBar, who has the ability to co-manufacture your delicious treats with our full turnkey solutions. Not only do we work with you to bring your food vision to life in a way that fits your current needs and goals but we also scale our operations as your business grows. Contact us today to learn how you can stay ahead of the curve.