Innova Market Insights has identified five trends expected to impact the sweets and snacks categories this year.

These trends mirror some of those the market research firm projects will influence the whole food and beverage industry. They include:

Provenance, sustainably sourcing and packaging comes into play 

Learning more about where their foods come from was of interest to 85 percent of global consumers in the Innova Consumer Survey 2020. As Transparency Triumphs emerged as the top trend, brands are upping their game to meet evolving ethical, environmental and clean-label consumer demands using creative, meaningful storytelling to communicate this. 

When it comes to sweets and snacks, ingredient provenance for raw materials such as nuts, cocoa and sugar is increasingly being highlighted, along with ethical credentials and packaging sustainability. 

Plant-based indulgence powers snack and sweets NPD 

The “plant-based” trend has continued to evolve. It has been featured in Innova Market Insights’ top trends for several years, with Plant Forward in 2021 seeing the rising appeal of plant-based products in different regions and categories. 

Consumers demand new formats, new plant proteins and an extra level of sophistication. In sweets and snacks, taste has always been a key driver, and plant-based indulgence is powering new product development, combining natural and free-from benefits in established areas such as chocolate, extruded snacks, nuts and snack mixes, while also featuring novel ingredients as varied as hemp and hibiscus.

Tailored to fit 

Personalized nutrition continues to be in the spotlight, with Tailored to Fit cited as Innova’s No. 3 trend for 2021. Research indicates that 64 percent of global consumers have found more ways to tailor their life and products to their individual styles, beliefs and needs. 

Cereal and snack bars in particular continue to develop their role as carriers of all kinds of healthy ingredients, targeting key areas of interest including performance and weight management, as well as specialist diets such as vegan, organic, high protein and keto. 

At-home eating comes to the fore 

As foodservice and retail domains increasingly overlap, consumers can eat what they want, when and where they want it. Consumers can now directly access many specialty products previously only accessible via retail points or entertainment establishments. New Omnichannel Eating takes a variety of forms in sweets and snacks. It includes the availability of branded cinema-style snacks in the home, as well as restaurant-branded snacks offering a range of flavors and formats, already familiar but not previously available for in-home consumption. 

COVID-19 boosts demand for immunity-supporting ingredients  

In Tune with Immune was another of Innova Market Insights’ Top Trends for 2021, reflecting how immunity and health has become more top-of-mind for consumers, with ongoing anxieties over COVID-19 continuing to be a key focus for the forthcoming year and beyond. 

According to Innova’s Consumer Survey 2020, six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019. 

Immunity boosting ingredients will play a significant role for the coming year, with awareness of the antioxidant content and potential immune health benefits of snacks featuring dark chocolate and so-called superfruits, as well as the use of vitamins and zinc in hard candy and gummies.