Asia takes the lead in salty snacks

Asia is home to four out of five of the world’s top innovators in salty snacks, says new research from Mintel.

According to the market intelligence agency, China leads in salty snacks innovation, accounting for 11 per cent of the world’s salty snacks product launches in 2018. The US follows with eight per cent, India with seven per cent, and Indonesia and Japan both with five per cent each.

The Chinese are also global leaders in salty snacks eating. Mintel estimates that China’s snack food market reached a retail volume of 5,521 thousand tonnes in 2018. The US follows with 3,754 thousand tonnes, India with 1,300 thousand tonnes, Japan with 582 thousand tonnes and Mexico with 557 thousand tonnes.

“Snacking is big business all over the world, especially in Asia where we’re seeing the greatest market potential, Mintel Food & drink Director of Insight Marcia Mogelonsky said.

“Home to four out of five of the world’s biggest salty snacks innovators, Asia, particularly China, is currently driving the global snack industry. The future of the Indian snack market is also promising. It’s not just India’s growing population that is driving innovation, but also the wide-ranging flavour choices and food traditions in the country.

“And as more foodies emerge across Asia, consumers are interested in experimenting with foods and flavours from more than just their home province or country, making pan-Asian innovation an exciting area.”

Flavour migration

One area of growth for the global snack industry lies in flavour migration. For example, Mintel says that chocolate-flavoured salty snacks that were originally popularised in the US are now proving to be more popular in Asia.

Mintel Global New Products Database shows that chocolate first appeared as a salty snack flavour in the US with products appearing as early as 2000.

In 2018, more chocolate-flavoured salty snacks were launched in Japan (12 per cent) than in the US (eight per cent).

From a regional perspective, says Mintel, Asia Pacific accounted for 58 per cent of all chocolate-flavoured salty snack launches in 2018, followed by EMEA (19 per cent), and then North America (10 per cent).

Flavour innovation

Flavour innovation is also pivotal in driving the global snack industry, says Mintel. And according to the agency, it seems consumers in Asia are warming up to the idea of sweet and salty flavoured snacks. Research reveals that 40 per cent of urban Indonesians would like to try dishes with a combination of sweet and savoury flavours, while 50 per cent of urban Chinese consumers are interested in trying snacks with an exotic flavour (eg, sweet and salty).

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