Snack Foods: Culinary Trend Mapping Report

Published: April 1, 2009 - 60 Pages

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Why Snack Foods — Kimberly Egan
Executive Summary

Trend Summary
Stage 1 - Swanky Pork Rinds
Stage 2 -Gastro Popcorn
- Seaweed Snacks
- Alternative Chips
Stage 3 - Crispy Veggies & Legumes
Stage 4 - Whole-Nutrition Sweets
Stage 5 - Nuts Gone Global

Chef Speak: CCD Chefs’ Council® Voices
James Ormsby: Snacks with Sizzle

Strategic Implications
Strategic Opportunities for Snack Foods

Source List


Time-crunched Americans are snacking more than ever, and in a serious way. In lieu of more traditional meals, consumers are turning to snacks as meal stand-ins — oatmeal bars and bottled smoothies in the car for breakfast; a container of yogurt and a handful of nuts at the desk for lunch; a fast-food snack wrap and soda for dinner. They are also munching on more mini-meals throughout the day to avoid energy crashes. Because snacks are less and less the hunger-soothing bridge between formal meals and more valuable gastronomical events in their own right, consumers want more from their snacks.

This leaves many consumers feeling conflicted. On one hand, we want the snack indulgence we are used to: crisp textures, salty coatings and the kind of satisfying mouthfeel that only high-calorie foods can deliver. On the other hand, we want healthy — nutritious, low-calorie, high-fiber nibbles with the goodness of fruits, veggies and whole grains so we feel better about eating snacks more often. Consumers have usually had to choose one option or the other. But no longer.

Emerging snacks are combining health and indulgence, with a new focus on ingredient quality, a kind of “premiumization” trend affecting snacks across categories. This new quality trend stems in part from the fact that many snacks are initially developed in restaurants.

In this report, we have mapped some ways the new snacking dynamics are playing out along the Trend Map®:

  • Goodbye down-home, hello upscale: Swanky Pork Rinds are all the rage in high-end bars and restaurants.

  • It isn’t just an add-on to that Cineplex soda anymore — Gastro Popcorn is transforming popcorn with some very grown-up flavor profiles.

  • Care for some amino acids with that chip? Seaweed Snacks offer a globally inspired taste of health and beauty.

  • Why settle for plain potato when you can crunch the rainbow? Alternative Chips offer a delicious palate of options.

  • Crispy Veggies and Legumes combine classic crunch with a punch of vitamins and fiber — for many snackers, an irresistible combo.

  • Made with healthful ingredients like brown rice and soybeans, Whole-Nutrition Sweets promise nutrition and indulgence.

  • Lavished with flavor profiles from around the world, Nuts Gone Global transform the familiar via striking new personalities.

With extensive profiles of each ingredient/food emerging within the five stages of the trend map, this issue of the Culinary Trend Mapping Report provides you with the most up-to-date, insider’s look at what’s hot and what’s not in the world of food. Top food marketers rely on trend mapping to keep them on the pulse of what’s happening and what’s about to happen as far as consumer tastes are concerned.

…The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is an indispensable tool for those whose job it is to stay abreast of what's hot - or what will be - in the food world!

Using the Center for Culinary Development’s (CCD) signature Trend Mapping technique, a validated method identifying which culinary trends are “gaining traction” and which are simply flashes in the pan, each report concentrates on a theme, or trend, that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established ingredients, cooking styles and products along the Trend Map that are driving this theme.

Each report is a 65+ page journal packed with trends, data, strategies and insights on the food industry that simply aren't available anywhere else.

Each Issue of the Culinary Trends Mapping Report:

  • Identifies the maturity level of foods and ingredients according to CCD’s unique, proprietary 5-stage trend mapping process.

  • Concentrates on a theme that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established trends along the Trend Map that affect—or are affected by—this theme.

  • Delves into these trends and what they mean for the manufacturing, retailing, and foodservice industries.

  • Gives strategic insight into how consumers are thinking of and reacting to new foods and ingredients.

  • Provides business know-how regarding opportunities, challenges, and ways to implement current trends into foodservice, retail, and packaged goods operations.

  • Presents a feature interview with a member chef from CCD’s exclusive 80+ member Chefs’ Council® that offers expert analysis and his or her perspective on a specific trend.

Trend Mapping®

Trend Mapping® is guided by the premise that major food trends pass through five distinct stages on their way to the mainstream:

  • Stage 1: The ingredient, dish and/or cooking technique appears at upscale dining establishments, ethnic and popular independent restaurants.

  • Stage 2: The item is featured in specialty consumer-oriented food magazines, such as Gourmet and Bon Appétit plus retail stores such as Sur La Table that target culinary professionals and serious home cooks.

  • Stage 3: The item begins to appear in mainstream chain restaurants -- Applebee's or Chili's --as well as retail stores such as Williams-Sonoma that target recreational cooks.

  • Stage 4: Publications such as Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens pick up the buzz.

  • Stage 5: Finally, the trend makes its way to quick service restaurant menus and is either starting to appear or is having increased presence on grocery store shelves.


Published bimonthly, the Culinary Trend Mapping Report is available for purchase as a single issue or a six-issue subscription.

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