Hela Spice North America uses cookies to personalize your experience. By continuing to visit this website you agree to our use of cookies.

Learn More

Trend Forecast: 7 Snack Trends to Look Out for in 2024

29 November 2023

In 2024, consumers are expecting more from their snacks. Snacks have long been the saviour of mid-morning and mid-afternoon crashes when energy levels and productivity slump. Protein bars, potato chips, and the occasional apple were the snacks of choice.

In recent years, however, there has been a revolution in the world of snacking. The “snackification” trend has taken over the North American food industry as consumers increasingly depend on snacks to fuel their busy lifestyles and promote healthy living. Moreover, consumers demand that their snacks do more than simply supply a burst of calories.

This changing mentality in how snacks are viewed (and what consumers expect from them) defines the forecasted trends for 2024. To keep up with shifting and growing demand, brands must rise to the occasion by providing healthy, high-protein, and filling snacks that deliver flavour and meet dietary restrictions.

1. Snacks as meal replacements

Increasingly, more Canadians and Americans are skipping meals and turning to snacking instead. A study by Packaging Corporation of America found that 90% of consumers have replaced at least one of their weekly meals with a snack. Consequently, there is an increased demand for filling, nutritious snacks that provide sufficient energy to sustain life on the go.

In 2024, most consumers will continue to live busy lifestyles and frequently find themselves short on time, particularly in the morning. For many, a full and balanced breakfast is out of the question. Healthy snacks, such as cereal bars, porridge pots, and protein-rich replacement shakes, are needed to get them through to lunch.

However, even having enough time for lunch is a struggle for many working North Americans. As a result, consumers are looking for high-protein and high-fibre snacking options that keep them fuller for longer. Easy-to-consume products conveniently fill the gap between breakfast and dinner, so office workers (for instance) can make the most of their lunch break.

2. Superfood snacks (with mood benefits)

Increasingly, snacks are being seen as a way to promote overall well-being and assist with mood enhancement. Health-conscious consumers, in particular, are opting for snacks that will improve their physical and mental states.

Across the food industry, there is an increased demand for products that offer additional functional benefits. In fact, 86% of surveyed consumers even said they would pay a premium for these kinds of products—snacks included!

Consumers are beginning to prefer snacks that promote cognitive, digestive, heart, joint, and immune well-being. They want products that make them feel energized and focused, not just satiated. Additionally, there is a demand for food and beverages that support relaxation, calm, and better sleep.

Adding superfood ingredients to your products is an effective way of meeting this need. For example, ashwagandha (an adaptogen) is believed to increase energy levels, improve concentration, and relieve stress. Other ingredients, like lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms, are also transitioning from health food shelves to mainstream products.

3. Plant-based snacks

The plant-based snack boom will continue into 2024. Continued innovation within the plant-based sector is encouraging more consumers to branch out and try these exciting new products. Additionally, there is an immense opportunity within this section of the snacking industry as the prevalence of vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets also increases.

In 2024, plant-based snack products with shorter ingredient labels will dominate. Consumers, focused on their health, are prioritizing products that are plant-forward with little to no additives. Protein-forward products featuring mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh, and legumes will supplant more complex meat alternatives.

4. Snacks with global heat

According to the 2024 Food Trends Forecast from Whole Foods, we will see more chile-spiced products on supermarket shelves. This is unsurprising as consumers’ affinity for spicy foods has steadily increased every year, especially since the pandemic.

Chiles from around the world are popping up in snacks, as well as in sauces and condiments. Consumers appreciate the balance of heat and flavour afforded by these spicy international ingredients. Their palates are becoming more refined as their appetite for heat continues to grow.

Product developers and restaurants should be encouraged to experiment with and integrate lesser-known chile varieties into their offerings. For example, think scorpion peppers, guajillo, Hungarian goathorns, and ancho.

5. High-protein snacks for everyone

Protein-rich foods are dominating product launches. Many products highlight the grams of protein on the front of the package, appealing to health-focused consumers who want to feel full while eating clean.

For many of today’s consumers, protein content is equated with a healthier product. When they’re too busy to stop and eat a standard meal, reaching for a high-protein snack is the next best thing. These kinds of snacks can help with weight management, fitness, and overall health.

Traditionally, protein-packed snacks looked like meal-replacement shakes and bars. This is no longer the case. There are countless creative ways to add animal-based or plant-based protein to your snack line. Lentil puffs, bean and nut mixes, brownies, and jerky are some examples.

6. Simple and instant (healthy) snacking

Consumers are busier than ever. Convenience is still king…although not at the expense of health. As more consumers are prioritizing healthy eating habits, they’re taking a closer look at the ingredient list of their favourite products. Today, they are seeking simple and instant meals and snacks with high-quality ingredients (and exciting flavours).

Instant noodles are the perfect example of this. They offer the ease and comfort of a warm bowl—and double as both a snack and a quick meal replacement. Furthermore, there are abundant opportunities to stand out with unique flavours, exciting exotic ingredients, and different noodle types. To appeal to health-conscious consumers, avoid adding certain preservatives and MSG to your products.

7. Free-from snacks

The free-from category of snacks continues to expand every year. Brands are innovating to appeal to smaller niches in the market and win the enduring loyalty of these segments.

The most obvious example of this lies with plant-based products, which are free from dairy, eggs, meat, and other animal products. Gluten-free, sugar-free, and keto also come to mind. However, the free-from category also applies to food allergens (such as free from peanuts).

Elevate Your Snack Product Development With Hela Spice

Hela Spice has a long history developing tasty and tantalizing snacks in Canada. We offer a wealth of food-processing capabilities, ingredient knowledge, and consumer insight. In 2024, take your snack products to the next level with Hela Spice’s tried and true expertise.

To learn more about snack product development from Hela Spice, visit our website or contact us here.

0 Comment
Share Us On:
Leave A Comment


Have a product idea? Tell us all about it and your search for the perfect ingredients. Find it all at Hela Spice. Let’s talk about your next best-seller.