Healthy-Ingredient Snacks in the U.S.: Cereal/Granola, Fruit, and Seed/Nut Snacks and Bars

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Published Sep 16, 2013 | 137 Pages | Pub ID: LA5116744
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Healthy-Ingredient Snacks in the U.S.: Cereal/Granola, Fruit, and Seed/Nut Snacks and Bars

More and more Americans eat smaller portions of food more frequently throughout the day, and there is universal agreement in the food industry that this megatrend is here to stay. Another cultural shift that adds fuel to a hot healthy-ingredient snacks market is the high priority placed by many adult consumers on making sure that the food they—and their kids—eat passes nutritional muster. This new Packaged Facts report shows how these consumer trends are converging to produce a new generation of snackers attracted by the “health halo” surrounding healthy-ingredient snacks and to create the conditions for a vibrant market.

The healthy-ingredient snacks market is marked by a continuous quest on the part of both marketers and consumers for the next best product offering. The market is characterized by a continuous flow of new products based on inventive flavor combinations, exciting ingredient ideas, innovative formats and shapes, exotic fruits and vegetables, “superfoods” claiming to provide outsized health benefits, bold contrasts of  sweet and salty, and novel and unexpected amalgamations of spices and heat from around the world.

Marketers of healthy-ingredient snacks take full advantage of the health-halo effect, a phenomenon that leads consumers to perceive that food products with certain claims, such as “organic” and “natural,” are healthier or safer for them. Healthy-ingredient snacks commonly carry labeling that sets them apart with objective characteristics such as non-GMO, vegan or organic. They also often are labeled more subjectively as being “local,” “pure,” “real,” “natural,” “safe,” “clean,” “minimally processed” and “allergy-friendly.”

One of the key findings of this Packaged Facts report is that the brightest and shiniest health halos encircle healthy-ingredient snacks coming from small, boutique marketers. These often are family-run and given to cause marketing. They frequently use locally sourced ingredients and almost always highlight their concern for the global environment as well as the health and well-being of their customers.

The products marketed by these healthy-ingredient snacks marketers appear all the more safe, healthy and authentic because their founders have a deeply personal story to tell about why they got into the snacks business. These fledgling entrepreneurs are passionate about their products and are able to leverage their enthusiasm with consumers. The reports suggests that one of the challenges facing the mega-marketers dominating the packaged foods industry in America today will be whether they can find ways to make consumers trust the healthy-ingredient snacks marketed by multinational corporations to the same extent that consumers feel confident in the products marketed by small, personalized niche firms.

Market Definition

This Packaged Facts report defines the market for healthy-ingredient snacks based upon the following product categories and types tracked by IRI InfoScan Reviews: cereal/granola bars (including granola bars, breakfast/cereal/snack bars and all other snack/granola bars); snack nuts and seeds (including snack nuts, sunflower/pumpkin seeds and toasted corn nut snacks); dried fruit snacks (including fruit rolls/bars/snacks; apple chips; and dried fruits); and trail mix and other sweet/salty snacks (including nutritional snacks/trail mixes; chocolate covered salted snacks; and carob/yogurt coated snacks). The report also analyzes analogous product categories from two other sources of primary data—Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS) and SPINSscan—and highlights healthy-ingredient snack trends appearing in other relevant IRI product categories not included in the main market categories as defined above.


The first source of primary data used in this report is IRI InfoScan Reviews as described above. The second is the Winter 2013 Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS), which was fielded between January 2012 and March 2013. The report also includes data from the SPINSscan from SPINS, Inc., which tracks sales in the natural supermarket and specialty gourmet supermarket channels.

The report is also based upon data collected from field surveys of food retailers in various channels as well as a wide range of industry sources, including company websites, trade publications, business newspapers and magazines; consumer blogs; and annual reports, 10Ks and other releases from public companies.
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