Despite the economic difficulties in major markets across the world, snack foods, an effervescent segment of the food industry, has managed to maintain tight hold on the taste buds of consumers across the globe. The global economic meltdown in recent years had a relatively milder effect on the snack foods market as the eating in’ trend augmented the demand for snacks served as appetizers at home, while fortification of snack items and new products with exotic flavors played a bigger role in sustaining consumer interest. The industry witnessed a record number of new product launches and brands in recent years as manufacturers sought to entice consumers with new flavors, value added portability, ready to use varieties, and products with enriched nutritional profiles. While low prices continue to remain the most important purchasing factor during difficult times, others such as low additives / preservative snacks are also rapidly gaining in importance. In the long run, carefree snackers are expected to continue to drive demand for varied flavor and taste profiles, while health-oriented snackers are expected to ignite a greater demand for low-calorie, healthy, organic, mineral fortified and fiber-rich snacks.
The growing popularity of protein-rich diet is projected to drive the demand for meat snacks. In addition, snacks are fast encroaching into the territory of convenient breakfast and dinner solutions, causing traditional meal manufacturers to reintroduce meal solutions as snacks. Frozen appetizers such as frozen potstickers and spring rolls stood to gain from the recent recessionary environment as cash stretched consumers who preferred home meals to costly restaurant visits, increased purchases of private label frozen appetizers. Given the current challenging market conditions in Europe and North America, snack sales in these regions would continue to be modest in the near term. In wake of the inflation in commodity prices, companies are seeking product innovations and improvement in supply chain management to maintain operating margin and profits. However emerging markets of Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe are expected to instill vibrancy in the sector primarily driven by increased consumption in upper-tier cities.
Changes in lifestyle coupled with a lithesome approach towards career have fuelled the consumption of snack foods over the years. With women becoming more focused on successful careers, the paucity of time for traditional preparations, is bringing to fore the advantages of snack foods. With globalization of brands and products, consumers in the developing world have caught up with their western counterparts. The trend in developed countries is the pronounced proclivity towards low fat products given the epidemic dimensions of obesity, essentially a characteristic feature of rich economies. Consumers, particularly parents are willing to dole out the extra cost, if the snack food product ensures health benefits such as nutrition, wholesomeness and taste for their family.
As stated by the new market research report on Snack Foods, Europe represents the largest regional market. Asia-Pacific, with its high-density population, liberalized import policies, stronger economic growth and increasing disposable income and to top it all, its imminent urge to adopt western lifestyles, is expected to offer ample growth opportunities. There are contrasting factors that drive growth in snack foods markets both in the developed as well as in developing economies, based on disparate dietary, lifestyle and demographic patterns. Consumers in developed and mature markets worldwide, seek health and convenience factors in snack foods. In contrast, an increasing shift away from unpackaged food items to packaged ones is strengthening the market in developing regions such as China and India.
Potato chips are an indispensable snack in American households, and close to 80% of homes purchase, and store potato chips as a preferred snack food. Undercurrents in the ready to eat snack food category reveal the emergence of distinct consumer purchasing trends in favor of energy bars, and cereal based snacks. By product group, Bakery Snacks represents the largest product segment, while salted snacks represent the fastest growing segment. Meat snacks are gaining in popularity, given the rising awareness among consumers regarding the importance of a well balanced, low carb, and rich protein diets. This snack category comprising pork rinds, dried beefsteaks, and bacon to name a few, has successfully acquired a wider consumer base ranging from children, teenagers, and adults.
Competition in the snack foods is intensely fierce, with the consequential crunch on profit margins driving several regional and domestic players to take the acquisition and merger route to stem dwindling profitability. Key participants profiled in the report include The Bachman Company, ConAgra Foods Inc., Chips Group, Tohato Inc., Cadbury Schweppes Plc., General Mills Inc., Groupe Danone, Herr Foods Inc., Intersnack Knabber-Gebck GmbH & Co. KG, Jack Links, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, Mission Foods Corporation, Nestl USA Inc., Nabisco Inc, Oberto Sausage Company, PepsiCo, Quaker Oats Company, Frito-Lay, Procter and Gamble Company, Pepperidge Farm Inc., The Hain Celestial Group Inc., Weaver Popcorn Company Inc., and Yamazaki Baking among others.
The research report titled “Snack Foods: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of trends, issues, strategic industry activities, and profiles of major companies worldwide. The report provides market estimates and projections in both value (US$ ) and volume (tons) terms by geographic regions including United States, Canada, Japan, Europe (France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia and Rest of Europe), Asia-Pacific, Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Andes and Rest of Latin America) and the Middle East. Key Product segments analyzed include Salted Snacks (Potato Chips, Tortilla & Corn Chips, Meat Snacks, Snack Nuts, Popcorn, Pretzels, and Cheese Snacks), Bakery Snacks and Specialty & Frozen Snacks.