T. Hasegawa USA has released a "Flavor Flash" report for May 2021, focusing on the latest trends in snack flavors.

Key findings:

  1. Snacking is still all about comfort foods. Snack selection is driven by both physical and emotional needs—so flavor innovation is focused on using creating premium or nuanced versions of classic flavors to stand out in the crowded snack aisle.
  2. Alternative ingredients are driving snack flavor innovation. According to research, interest in traditional products like wheat/grain-based snacks, popcorn, snack mixes and vegetable snacks is stagnant or even declining—while alternative ingredients like roots and rice are rapidly becoming a strong focus of product innovation. This reflects changing consumer approach to snacking, with increased focus on better-for-you snack options. 
  3. The pandemic has elevated sales of most, but not all, snack categories with the biggest winners being traditional, well-established categories that deliver both versatility and comfort. Since consumer behavior shifted to pantry stocking during COVID-19, salty shelf-stable snacks like potato chips, tortilla chips and crackers saw the biggest gains in demand.
  4. Millennials seek experiences from snacks and cite flavors as a source of excitement. Younger consumers expressed strong interest in international snacks, especially Asian cuisines such as Japanese and Thai (ex. Kimchi, adobo, sesame, curry etc.). These snacks can provide a flavorful adventure after a year of limited cultural, dining and travel experiences.

Click here to view the full report.