As consumers continue to prioritize their overall health and well-being, the importance of digestive wellness is becoming increasingly recognized. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to numerous health benefits, including improved digestion, immune function, and mental health. So it comes as no surprise that there is a rising demand for snacks that promote gut health.
Three of the top snacks that pair well with this ‘gut-health trend’ are cookies, cereal, and energy balls due to their versatility. Each of these snacks can be revamped with nutritious ingredients like prebiotics and probiotics to support gut health. In this blog post, we'll explore how healthy snack brands can merge these three types with this emerging trend to create products that not only taste great but also support digestive wellness. Whether you're a snack brand owner or a healthy snack manufacturer, keep reading to discover the latest trends and insights into the gut-healthy snack market.
Cookies are one of the most beloved snacks of all time. They are convenient, easy to eat, and perfect for those who have a sweet tooth. But did you know that cookies can also be a healthy and gut-friendly snack? With the right recipe and formulation, cookies can be packed with healthy ingredients that promote gut health.
As diet trends continue to shift towards healthier options, consumers are increasingly looking for snacks that are delicious, nutritious, and cater to specific health or diet needs, such as improving one’s gut health. One way to indulge this demand is by using cookie formulations that include high amounts of fiber such as plant proteins, dried fruits, and oats. If you are unsure of what the right ingredients for your cookies will be or how to pair them with other nutritious items to make a sinfully delicious dessert, consider partnering with an experienced cookie contract manufacturer.
Using their industry expertise, the right cookie co-manufacturer will help you produce delicious and gut-friendly cookies that cater to a variety of dietary needs, including gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan. Even classic cookies like chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies can be gut-friendly when innovated (through an innovation center like our Food Innovation Kitchen!) with quality ingredients and the right guidance. Furthermore, you can take things a step further for your cookies by utilizing clean-label ingredients and formulating around popular health claims such as "gut-friendly" or "high in fiber," to appeal to consumers who are increasingly conscious about their food choices.
For entrepreneurs and food startups looking to enter the cookie market, partnering with a reliable cookie contract manufacturer can help ensure success. With the support of an experienced co-manufacturer, you can focus on growing your brand while your partner handles everything from recipe development to packaging. After all, cookies are a tasty and convenient snack that can also be gut-friendly with the right ingredients and formulations.
As consumers seek out healthier snack options, the cereal market offers a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and food startups. Healthy cereal is nothing new; millennials have grown up seeing high-fiber cereal options in the supermarket such as Kellogg’s Special K and Raisin Bran. However, the fact that healthy cereal is nothing new is what has made cereal a go-to product type for those looking to target consumers focused on gut health. Leading the way in the healthy cereal market is Magic Spoon, a brand that offers low-carb, low-sugar cereal. Although they don’t sell "gut-healthy" cereal (yet), they serve as a prime example that with the right ingredients and formulations, even ‘boring’ cereal can become innovative. It can easily be formulated to not only be beneficial for the gut but also for other aspects of health such as lowering cholesterol levels, improving heart health, and providing sustained energy throughout the day.
Other ways to enhance your product include incorporating natural sweeteners–such as honey, maple syrup, or allulose–or nootropics. Nootropics are natural compounds that can boost brain function, and they can be found in ingredients like ginkgo biloba, ashwagandha, and lion's mane mushrooms. By incorporating nootropics into cereal formulations, healthy food brands can offer consumers a tasty breakfast option that not only nourishes the gut but also supports cognitive function. Moreover, adding ingredients that add textural contrast, like nuts, seeds, or dried fruits, can make cereal more appealing to consumers while being functional since they offer health benefits of their own–thereby killing two birds with one stone. Whole grains like oats are also a great ingredient for gut health and can be a great ingredient to use if you want to experiment with different types of cereals, such as muesli, which is a type of rolled oats mix that has become increasingly popular.
Wondering how to get started? The easiest way is to partner with a cereal contract manufacturer that specializes in innovative and healthy formulations. Cereal co-manufacturers and co-packers can experiment with different ingredients you don’t have access to in order to create cereals that are high in protein and other gut-friendly nutrients. Pairing this with industry expertise around the hottest dietary trends is a surefire way that will accelerate your growth as a successful and innovative new cereal brand.
3. Energy Balls
Energy balls are a versatile and delicious snack that can provide numerous health benefits, especially when it comes to gut health. By using grains like oats, seeds like flaxseed and chia seeds, and natural sweeteners like monk fruit or honey, energy balls can already offer a great source of prebiotics and fiber to support a healthy gut microbiome. But, to take it one step further, energy balls can be formulated as nut butter-filled protein balls with ease, which use functional, anti-inflammatory ingredients like almond butter or peanut butter that are usually rich in healthy fats and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
As you already guessed, the best way to boost the functional benefits of your energy balls is to play around with the ingredients. Plant protein such as hemp protein or barley protein delivers great amino acid content whereas chia seeds or mushrooms provide additional gut-friendly benefits. Natural sweeteners like monk fruit or allulose are also great ingredient options for your energy ball recipe since they add sweetness without the use of processed sugars that are known to cause inflammation in the gut. Medjool dates, which are a rich source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins, are another great addition to energy balls, and combining them with seeds, nuts, chocolate chips, or other dried fruits can offer functional benefits while providing a sweet and satisfying taste.
Experimenting with a variety of other gut-friendly ingredients can be done in your own kitchen but if you’re looking to scale and grow your business, consider investing in a partnership with an energy bar manufacturer. They can help brands create unique and interesting food combinations at scale and help them tap into the latest diet trends to become the next big food brand in the healthy snack market.
With digestive wellness being a priority for consumers in 2023, entrepreneurs and business owners in the food industry should consider offering gut-healthy snacks more readily. Cookies, cereal, and energy balls seem to be the top gut-healthy snacks to look out for this year and can be made even healthier with the addition of prebiotic and probiotic ingredients. By partnering with a contract manufacturer like YouBar which specializes in cookies, cereal, and energy balls, businesses create winning formulations for gut-friendly snacks that cater to a variety of dietary needs and stand out in the market. Contact YouBar today to get started on creating your next successful product!