Snacks & Candy

Snacking for Specialized Diets

Photograph: Shutterstock

With many consumers following New Year’s resolutions surrounding health goals, it makes sense that retailers might see an uptick in sales of healthier snacks—including granola bars, packaged nuts or dried fruit—as candy bars and chips take a hit. But for consumers who are following specialized diets, their snacking preferences may be even more specific. Rather than looking for items that offer health halos such as “all natural” or “no artificial flavors,” these consumers may be looking for items that meet specific macronutrient goals they are trying to meet. These goals can vary, but they’re often tied to specific diets that consumers are following, such as ketogenic, paleo or Whole30.

Learning more about what consumers are looking for when they come in for a healthy snack—and who those consumers are—can help retailers offer the best product mix and merchandise it well.

Who’s looking for healthy snacks

Traditionally, a snack was defined by when it was eaten (between meals) and what kind of food it was (an item marketed or sold as a “snack food”). Nowadays, however, consumers replace meals with snacks on a regular basis, and many view snacking as more of an everyday occurrence rather than something they might do once in a while. In fact, according to Technomic’s 2018 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, 32% of consumers say they skip or replace one meal per day with snacks, and 30% say snacking between meals is part of a healthy diet.

What’s more, the tendency to seek out healthier snacks is seemingly universal. Technomic’s report found that compared to two years ago, 36% of consumers ages 18 to 34 are snacking on healthier foods, compared to 33% of consumers ages 35 and up. That trend is likely to grow as diets such as keto, paleo and others proliferate. The report notes that a quarter of consumers expect to eat healthier snacks in the coming year.

This means there’s really no one group looking to eat healthier snacks, so by offering healthier options, retailers are catering to consumers across their entire customer base, rather than just a small minority of a certain demographic.

What ‘healthy’ really means

As for what types of healthy snacks consumers are looking for, items that are high in protein, low in sugar and made with natural ingredients are top picks. According to Technomic’s report, 35% of consumers say it’s important for snacks they buy to be made with just a few simple ingredients, and 52% of consumers point to an item being high in protein as the No. 1 nutritional attribute they look for. Other nutrients they seek include vitamin D (38%) and calcium (35%). For these consumers, refrigerated meat-and-cheese snacks are the perfect solution.

Bridging the gap

Consumers don’t want to have to sacrifice their diets when they stop for a quick snack at a convenience store. And if they can’t find something they can eat on their diets, they may buy nothing at all. For retailers, the opportunity to offer snacks that meet these new needs is big. Jack Link’s Cold Crafted 100% Beef & Cheese Snack Sticks are priced to offer a great value while still offering consumers the high-protein, low-carb snacks they’re looking for. Made with 100% beef and real Wisconsin cheese, they also fit the bill for consumers who want minimally processed foods with no artificial ingredients in their snacks. The brand’s Cold Crafted Linkwich snacks offer the same quality ingredients in a similarly portable format, sandwiching uncured meats such as hard salami or Genoa salami between two slices of cheese, such as colby jack, pepper jack or cheddar.

Jack Links Snacks

Grab-and-go portable snacks that offer the nutrients consumers need are a hot ticket. Retailers should be sure to offer these types of snacks for customers who are looking for something more filling than a bag of potato chips.

To learn more about Jack Link’s Cold Crafted refrigerated snacks that are perfect for protein seekers and consumers on specialized diets, visit jacklinks.com/cold-crafted.

This post is sponsored by Jack Link's Protein Snacks

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