Salty snacks are seeing a new surge of innovation in the flavor category. According to T. Hasegawa more than a third of those eating more salty snacks cite the excitement of flavor trial as the reason, reinforcing the idea that consumers are willing to take risks with snacks.
Below are the 8 key findings according to T. Hasegawa's Flash Flavor Report on salty snacks.
8 Key Findings
- Familiarity drives flavor trial. Consumers are most likely to have a positive experience with flavors that have some grounding in the familiar, such as a flavor from another food or combination with something they already tried.
- Flavor is the common ground between BFY and indulgence. Despite increased interest in healthy and functional ingredients in snacks, this does not have to be mutually exclusive with indulgence. A recent Mintel survey indicated that 37% of consumers feel that unique flavors make health snacks feel more indulgent.
- Social media and viral trends are influencing flavor innovation. Especially for more extreme flavors, the influence of social media and viral trends is having a major effect on new product innovation. Snack brands can look online to foster their boldest and most expansive flavor ideas, and even tap into the opportunity for online retail channels.
- Consumers are willing to take risks with snack flavors. More than 42% of consumers in a recent Mintel survey said they are eating more salty snacks than last year and more than a third said they are trying new/exciting flavors. The excitement of flavor drives trial in the snack category, so brands can use unique flavors to capture both the BFY and indulgent-minded consumer.
- The surprising growth of dill pickle flavor in the snack category. The flavor is bold enough o entice younger consumers while still being recognizable enough to not deter traditionally less-adventurous older consumers. Dill pickle flavor also pairs well with trending cooling ranch and spicy flavors, giving it extra versatility.
- Consumers are seeking clear flavor and ingredient messaging in premium snacks. More than 60% of consumers in a recent Mintel survey cited “fruit” as an ingredient that would make a snack seem healthy, along with an average of 40-50% for “seeds” and “oats,” across both male and female consumers.
- Mexican-inspired foods like elotes and churros are rapidly growing as sweet flavors within the salty snack category. New product introductions featuring churro flavor have grown by more than 400% since 2020.
- The undeniable popularity of heat. In a competitive environment where brands are fighting for their share of occasions, many are using the intrigue of trending pepper varietals to create unique spicy taste experiences once dominated by jalapeno or habanero.