Natural Colouring to Support
Trends in Savoury Snacks

The Popularity of Snacking

Spanish tapas, Italian antipasti, hors d’oeuvre inspired by the French cuisine, or Mezze as served in regions like the Middle East or the Balkans – the cultural habit of enjoying small savoury dishes is omnipresent. The concept of snacking is certainly not new as its modern meaning “a bit or morsel to eat hastily” goes as far back as 1757. With our fast-changing lifestyles and evolving consumer needs, snacking has become increasingly popular. Even in recent months, consumer interest in snacking continues to grow. In the United Kingdom, for example, 68% of consumers snack once a day at a minimum, and only as few as 8% of consumers resist the temptation to snack frequently and do so less than once a week, as Mintel reports in July 2020. With 85% of respondents snacking at home, and 35% snacking at work or at the place of study, the desire to look for a small moment to indulge, refuel or boost energy is high. Equally high is the number of options to choose from: crisps, breads or pastry, cheesy snacks, savoury biscuits, nuts or seeds, popcorn, bars, meat snacks or sweet snacks – the selection.

Savoury Snacks in Focus

Savoury snacks enjoy strong popularity in Europe. In 2018, the retail value of the savoury snacks market in Europe amounted to around €17 billion, the European Snacks Association (ESA) states. With 3.9 kg savoury snack consumption per capita per year, Global Data reports Europe to be the 2nd highest region in consumption, only surpassed by the Americas with 5.1 kg per capita in 2019. The outlook is bright with a Global Data estimate of +3% cumulated annual growth rate over the course of the next 4 years.

Capturing the opportunities for savoury snacks, how can one meet the changing consumer needs? Let’s take a closer look at the trends shaping the industry and discuss how natural colouring solutions can help your products stand out.

More Simplicity and Naturalness

Consumers like to know what is in their food. As discussed in our recent blogs on clean label trends, consumers show a growing interest in natural, simple, and recognizable ingredients. When it comes to healthier snack choices, more than half of European consumers look for all-natural ingredients, when they are searching for a healthier crisp or crisp-style snack, Mintel reports. Claims, such as no additives or preservatives, GMO-free, wholegrain, or “all-natural” can support consumers’ decisions.

Taste remains the 1st choice and factor in deciding which snack to buy. Yet how to provide all-natural products with a visually appealing look that enables consumers to “eat with their eyes” first? Sensient’s Cardea range allows you to create vibrant colouring in the most natural way. With the range of colouring solutions from concentrates and extracts from plant-sources only, you can achieve a visual appeal for your ‘all-natural’ product concepts that stand out from the clutter:

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Travelling through the Senses

While traditional flavours offer comfort through “the known” or a nostalgic sentiment, consumers show an equally strong interest in innovation that sparks the senses. 60% of UK consumers would love to see more flavours available from their favourite brand, and

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Close to 7 out of 10 Polish consumers
would like to see more flavours
inspired by world cuisine.

(Mintel Data)

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Whether it’s Indian Tikka Masala, Korean Barbeque style crisps or Japanese Matcha Nuts, international or exotic flavours allow consumers to “travel” at home through a sensory experience. As more than half of UK consumers think snacking gives them the opportunity to take a break from their responsibilities, the unusual taste experience can support that “me-moment”.

Bolder flavours call for concepts where the colour of the snack meets the taste expectation consumers have. Sensient’s Microfine range is designed to deliver intense, homogenous shades naturally. The portfolio of colouring foods and natural colours work perfectly in spice blends:

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“Better-for-you” Alternatives

Healthier alternatives to consumers’ favourite savoury snacks are in demand. “Better for you” can mean different things to different consumers. For some it is about reduced fat or salt contents, for others it may be added protein or high fibre content, while it can also mean additional functional claims with the according perceived health benefits. ESA notes that snack nut consumption has increased by 76% between 2009 and 2018, as nuts are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. 42% of German consumers, for example, believe that eating nuts, savoury snacks or healthy crisps can be a good way to top up on nutrients, such as protein and fiber, Mintel quotes.

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77% of French consumers would
like to see mainstream salty snack
brands to offer healthier options
in their range.

(Mintel Data)

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Whether it is the classic potato crisp, extruded snacks or crisps based on alternatives, such as corn, rice or beans, “better for you” concepts can support brands to satisfy consumers’ increasing interest in healthier options. Beetroot, turmeric or spirulina-based colouring solutions, for example, can create visually exciting better-for-you alternatives with vibrant colouring. These ingredients have a certain superfood status with consumers and are recognized and understood on the ingredient list by many.

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Ethical and Sustainable Claims in the Spotlight

The increasing concern and awareness around the human impact on the planet are driving consumer choices towards more eco-friendly and ethical launches, according to Mintel. They also report that 69% of German consumers agree that companies and brands can be leaders in protecting the environment. This is a call-to-action for food manufacturers to cater to this need and reflect new product launches.

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The share of European snack launches
with ethical and environmental claims has
grown by 62% in 2019 compared to 2015.

(Mintel Data)

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Ethical and sustainable choices can manifest in many different ways. For example, the number of product launches with a palm-oil free claim has quintupled since 2015. For customers that request all colouring solutions to be free from palm oil or palm-ingredient derivatives, we can achieve the desired look with a full range of colouring foods and natural colours entirely free from any palm-containing ingredients. This dynamic range does not compromise product performance and in fact, many of these products even exceed that of most standard palm-based solutions.

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If you have any questions about any of these colouring solutions or would like to receive project-specific advice to formulate your next snack innovation, reach out anytime to schedule a consultation. If you are ready to order a sample, go ahead and request it here.

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