Healthy snacks, healthy innovation

The push towards healthier snack options is driving innovation that extends beyond Australia and into global markets.

Demand is rising for healthier snacks containing superfoods, beating out plainer fare such as plain potato chips.

Consumers are also demanding portable nutrition with vegetables and protein included in everyday snacks such as muesli bars, according to Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trends Report.

While protein is sought after, health-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking plant-based protein in their snacks rather than traditional dairy-based whey protein.

As consumers seek more nutrient-dense offerings, snacks are an ideal vehicle to deliver superfoods to time-pressed, health-conscious consumers and provide free-from alternatives to dairy proteins. Snack manufacturers are looking to include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and botanicals to align with this shift.

A recent US Nielsen report analysed dollar growth from 2013 to 2016, and found that different kinds of bars, ranging from meal replacements to muesli bars, saw the strongest surge, with an increase of $633 million. They were followed by jerky, with a $547 million spending jump, and individual cookies and crackers, which saw $469 million more in sales.

Snack products that tout specific health claims drive the strongest uptick in sales. Non-GMO claims saw an 18.2 per cent boost in sales for each of the past five years, followed by snack products that are free from artificial colours/flavours (16.2%) and no or reduced sugar claims (11.3%).

Interestingly, a quarter of snacking is now occurring during main meals.

We take a look at two Australian companies that are going places with their nutritional know-how.

Kez’s Kitchen

This Victorian company has branched out to launch several new allergy-friendly snack options within a range called Free & Naked.

These raw cookies are made of nuts, dates, cocoa, sunflower seeds and coconut oil.

Kez’s Kitchen CEO Michael Carp is both dairy- and gluten-intolerant himself, and was driven by a desire to give the market healthy snack options.

“I was struck by the fact I couldn’t enjoy any of the snacks we were making [at home],” he said. “I knew I wasn’t alone.”

Today, the full Kez’s Kitchen range includes Baked, Free, and Free & Naked, offering a range of allergy friendly and healthy choices.

Kez’s Free & Naked Raw Cookies are available in two varieties: Raw Choc Nut and Raw Peanut. They are gluten-free, vegan, and contain no refined sugars.

The latest range is sold at Woolworths stores for a RRP of $5.99 for each pack.

Luv Sum

Rhett Hurvitz launched the Luv Sum business with the mission of providing more interesting snack options to fitness-focused individuals.

He began manufacturing protein and energy balls and bars with the goal of ultimately taking the range into overseas markets.

Through connections provided by Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL), an industry-led, not-for-profit organisation, he has grown the boutique health food brand and is now exporting to 13 countries.

“We were the first Australian manufacturer of protein balls seven years ago,” Hurvitz says.

“At the time, there were no ‘cool’ healthy snack brands, so I wanted to launch something that was funky and innovative which we could make ourselves locally.”

He says the first year in business was “huge”. The big challenge ongoing is to continue inspiring retailers to adapt their business models and innovate.



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