Top 9 Snack Trends Leading 2023

Cinnamon rolls on tray

At YouBar, we specialize in creating nutritious products that cater to the ever-changing tastes and preferences of consumers. We have the privilege of working with some of the top health and fitness influencers in the United States, giving us a unique perspective on the latest trends in nutrition and how to meet the changing demands of consumers. This year, consumers are looking for snacks that not only provide excellent nutrition but are also fun to eat. They want to have their cake and eat it too, so to say. This means that snack companies are working hard and innovating to pack fun-to-eat treats (like cinnamon rolls, candy bars, cookie dough, and rice crispy treats) with high-protein, nootropic, natural sweetener, adaptogen, and superfood ingredients.

In this blog post, we'll outline our predictions for the top 9 snack trends of 2023, covering everything from practical snacks like protein bars to more indulgent ones such as donuts and churros. We'll provide you with an inside look at what the industry has in store, and how these trends are shaping the future of snacks to help you capitalize on them. The snack industry is constantly evolving and it's important to stay ahead of the curve to ensure success. So, let's dive in and explore the top snacks for 2023!

1. Cinnamon Rolls

One of the snack trends to look out for in 2023 is the rise of healthy cinnamon rolls. As consumers become increasingly health-conscious, they are looking for ways to indulge in their favorite treats while still maintaining a healthy diet. Cinnamon rolls are a classic comfort food and as part of the “better-for-you” bakery revolution, we’ll see cinnamon roll options like Legendary Foods’ Protein Pastries that cater to specialty diets, such as keto or plant-based. By formulating cinnamon rolls with ingredients such as plant-based proteins or natural sweeteners like allulose and monk fruit, it's possible to create a tasty treat that is also nutritious.

For entrepreneurs and businesses looking to launch a healthy cinnamon roll product line, partnering with the right healthy bakery snack co-manufacturer or co-packer can make all the difference. Such a partner can help with everything from recipe development to packaging and can provide the expertise and resources needed to bring a high-quality product to market. By working with a reliable and experienced co-manufacturer, new brands can focus on growing their brand, while their partner handles the logistics of production.

2. Toaster Pastries

The popularity of portable, mess-free, and easy-to-eat breakfast snacks on the go, such as toaster pastries, is on the rise as individuals seek convenient and flavorful options for their hurried mornings. Toaster pastries are an ideal option for busy individuals who are looking for a quick and light breakfast, and the growing demand presents an opportunity for companies to offer healthier variations of this snack. Utilizing a professional toaster pastry manufacturer with a Food Innovation Kitchen allows for the creation of toaster pastries that incorporate gluten-free flour, plant-based ingredients, superfoods, healthy fats, low-calorie sweeteners, and more. This results in a wide range of delicious and nutritious options that cater to a variety of dietary needs and preferences. Furthermore, the range of ingredients available for formulating toaster pastries - including fruit-filled jams and jellies, cookies, and nut butters - provides endless possibilities for creating unique and flavorful options.

3. Brownies

Brownies and cake squares are becoming a rising trend in the snack industry for 2023. Their versatility in flavor, as well as the ability to adapt to different dietary needs, such as paleo, keto, and low-carb diets or any hot new diet trend, is a driving factor in their growing popularity. With the ability to add ingredients like nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate pieces, these treats not only offer textural contrast but also an enhanced flavor experience. Not only that - brownies and cake squares are the perfect platforms to incorporate functional ingredients like protein, mushrooms, and antioxidants while maintaining the taste and indulgence of the snack. 

As consumers become more conscious about their dietary choices, the demand for delectable guilt-free snacks is on the rise, making brownies and cake squares a highly sought-after option in the snack industry. The right brownie co-manufacturer and co-packer are all you need to start planning out your new brownie product. They can help you formulate and commercialize the perfect recipe to meet all the needs of an increasingly health-driven consumer base.

4. Cookies

Cookies may seem like a classic, yet unassuming snack, but their enduring popularity is a testament to their versatility and timeless appeal. Their convenient, mess-free, and durable nature makes them a perfect choice for on-the-go snacking or later consumption. Like other nostalgic snacks, the demand for healthier variations has increased, and nowadays, cookies can be formulated with baking mixes that meet a variety of dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan. By working with a healthy snack co-manufacturer, you can develop a cookie recipe that incorporates functional ingredients such as protein and superfoods. This ability to create tasty and nutritious options makes cookies a snack that can be enjoyed guilt-free, satisfying cravings while supporting a healthy lifestyle. 

Another reason that makes cookies a hot snack is that they can be formulated to cater to different flavors - whether it's a classic (low) sugar cookie or something more unique like cranberry orange or peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. The options are endless, making cookies a snack that never goes out of style, especially for a kid-friendly market. To expand your product line, consider launching an edible cookie dough product line inspired by your cookies’ flavors. Sometimes consumers want to eat something sturdy like a cookie, other times they wish to eat a softer dessert with a spoon like cookie dough.  

Bowl of Cookie Dough

5. Balls & Bites

Protein-packed balls and bites are emerging as a trend in the snack industry for 2023. These snacks offer a unique combination of taste, texture, and nutrition, in small bite-size portions that are easy to carry for consumers on the move. These snack types are perfect for a wide range of consumer bases, including consumers who enjoy going to the gym or need a snack to enjoy during a long commute. You can formulate protein balls and bites in a variety of flavors and ‘formats’ from protein-dense bites to nut butter-filled balls.

To become the next big food brand in 2023, it is essential to not only have an excellent product but also to have a robust e-commerce and marketing strategy in place. This includes listing your products on reputable online retailers and marketplaces and working with an industry expert such as YouBar to optimize your product's reach and visibility. Additionally, in the development of your recipe and formulation, it is crucial to conduct thorough research on ingredients and their nutritional properties to ensure that claims and benefits are supported and credible. Using ingredients that capitalize on health claims that are currently popular will help with sales as well. With the right approach and the support of an experienced partner, balls and bites can be a successful snack trend in 2023.

6. Churros

Healthy churros are becoming an increasingly popular trend as consumers explore desserts from other cultures and seek healthier options. Churros, traditionally a fried-dough pastry, can now be made with healthier ingredients and alternative cooking methods to reduce calories and sugar content. From using healthy oils like avocado oil for the frying process to allulose for the sprinkled sweet dust covering, it is quite possible and easy to create guilt-free churros that are also gluten-free, vegan, or keto-friendly. As consumers start to expect healthy versions of their favorite snacks, entering the healthy churro market early can be a smart choice for entrepreneurs searching for less-saturated markets. 

7. Donuts

Healthy donuts are becoming an increasingly popular trend as consumers seek healthier variations for their sweet treats. Donuts are versatile snacks or desserts that can be enjoyed at any time of the day, from breakfast to dinner. With the variety of types of donuts available, such as filled donuts, cake donuts, and donut holes, snack startups can create an extensive lineup of yummy and healthy options. These donuts can be made from a range of healthy flours, such as whole wheat flour, almond flour, or oat flour, and have endless healthy topping and filling options as well. The ability to customize these donuts to fit various dietary needs, such as gluten-free or low-carb, means that they can cater to a wide range of consumers. Whether you are looking to start your own business or add something new and exciting to your menu, healthy donuts are a great option to consider.

8. Rice Crispy Treats

Healthy rice crispy treats and cereal bars are becoming the “it snack” of the moment as consumers seek healthier options for sweet treats they can enjoy when the craving hits. These snacks are a classic favorite, and with the right formulation, they can be made for vegan, sugar-free, keto, paleo, and other diets. Rice crispy treats, in particular, are experiencing a surge in popularity and are selling well on various marketplaces and online retailers. These treats can be made with healthier ingredients such as gluten-free rice cereal, natural sweeteners, and even protein-packed ingredients, making them a tasty nutritive option. Cereal bars are also a great snack option and can be made with various healthy ingredients such as oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, making them perfect for on-the-go snacking. With the right partner, like YouBar, entrepreneurs and food service providers can create a winning recipe that meets the latest trends in the snack industry and caters to the diverse dietary needs of consumers. By utilizing the expertise of a co-manufacturer or co-packer, you can ensure that your product is not only flavorful but also meets the highest standards of quality and safety.

Rice Crispy Square

9. Candy Bar-Style Protein Bars

Candy bar-style protein bars are still one of the biggest healthy dessert trends in the market right now. These bars offer a yummy and convenient way to consume not just protein but also other functional ingredients that appeal to consumers such as superfoods, fibers, and vitamins. They are becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious individuals, fitness enthusiasts, and busy professionals looking for a quick and easy way to meet their nutritional needs. These bars are specially formulated to provide a balance of protein and carbohydrates, making them a great snack or meal replacement option for those who work out or who just want to be healthier and incorporate more protein into their diets. The high-quality ingredients used in these bars such as natural sweeteners and fruits and nuts, make them a yummy and nutritious option, and they can be tailored to fit many dietary specifications such as gluten-free, high protein, low sugar, low carb, or paleo. With the perfect energy bar manufacturer or protein bar co-packer, entrepreneurs and food startups can create a winning recipe that meets the latest trends in the snack industry and caters to the diverse dietary needs of consumers.

Key Takeaways

As you kick off 2023, now is the time to start planning out the healthy snacks you want to produce and sell throughout the year. From healthy baked pastries to traditional protein bars, there are a multitude of different snack types you can choose from. But, the key to becoming a successful snack brand in 2023 is to have a clear plan and partner in mind. From start to finish, the planning and preparation for a new product can take quite some time, so consider a partnership with a co-manufacturer or co-packer, like YouBar, to help launch and scale your business. Contact us today to get started.