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25 Jun 2024

What’s Happening in the World of Healthy Snacks 2024

What’s Happening in the World of Healthy Snacks 2024
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GCC consumers now have an increased appetite for a healthier lifestyle which has resulted in them actively seeking better-for-you snack alternatives. In a recently conducted survey by Mondelez Intl, 60% of consumers said that they’ve become more aware of mindful snacking and are managing portion sizes to maintain a wholesome lifestyle.

Key Highlights

  • Consumers prioritise natural ingredients over nutritional benefits as they perceive it to be healthier
  • Dairy products and protein bars continue to soar high in the healthy snacking category
  • New healthy snack product types are adding excitement to the fold

Here’s a look at the top 2024 healthy snacking trends in the GCC region:

Trend #1: Natural Ingredients Correlate to Good Health

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In the healthy snacks category, natural ingredients are perceived to be closely aligned with well-being. According to GCC consumers, no preservatives (40%), no artificial ingredients (34%), and natural ingredients (33%) are the top attributes that make a healthy snack. For manufacturers, this underscores the importance of incorporating natural ingredients and clean labels into their products, helping to build trust and loyalty with health-conscious consumers.

Trend #2: Nutrition Matters, but Natural Leads

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While nutritional claims like low fat, zero sugar, reduced salt, high protein, and more are important, natural and minimally processed ingredients are the primary drivers of perceived healthiness in snacks. As much as consumers are looking for nutrition in their snacks, they don’t completely trust it to be natural or unprocessed. This makes it essential for snack brands to be perceived as more natural than nutritional.

Trend #3: Healthy Indulgence Has Become the Standard and Will Continue to Be

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When consumers reach for a snack, indulgence is nearly always a factor in their choice, even when healthy snacking is on their minds. This is why we’re seeing consumers in the GCC snack on dairy products the most. Specifically, yoghurt (69%), dairy milk (63%), and cheese (60%) which offer nutrition along with an indulgent taste and texture. Brands need to have their indulgent products at the forefront to cater to consumer preferences and drive revenue.

Trend #4: Protein Snack Consumption is Moving Beyond Gym Routine, Giving Rise to Various Snacking Occasions

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The most popular snacking occasions for protein snacks are before or after going to the gym, watching TV, playing video games, during breaks at school or work. This shows how the use of protein has expanded beyond the gym into different avenues. Consumers are choosing snacks to meet a range of needs, from tasty indulgences to morning energy boosts and even meal replacements. Brands have a great opportunity to tap into these different moments and carve out a niche for themselves.

Trend #5: New product types are on the Horizon

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New and upcoming product types are a trend adding excitement to the snack aisle. This includes bites, balls, and other miniature versions of traditional snacks. Besides bringing an element of fun, these sizes also offer portion control. For example, protein bars can be made available in the form of brownies, bars, cookies and pretzels based on the need and occasion. Therefore, consumer journey mapping coupled with creative execution will be a key differentiator for brands looking to be at the forefront of healthy snacking developments.

As consumer’s priorities and snacking habits continue to evolve, it's clear that brands that stay on top of these shifts will be well-positioned to deliver the most relevant snacks for today’s consumers. This can be achieved by striking a balance between nutrition, natural ingredients and the indulgence consumers enjoy from a snack.

If you’re a snack producer looking to establish their business in the GCC, innovate your product offering and expand your professional network, visit our top exhibitors in the healthy snacking category 1 Attimo In Forma Korona M Savimex LTD Innovative Biscuits (Pvt.) Ltd and many more at the ISM Middle East 2024 from 24 – 26 September. This must-attend event is MENA’s premier sweets and snacks exhibition and is the ultimate catalyst to build your business in the UAE and beyond.

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