For triggering a snack craving, there’s nothing like being stuck at home. Given the amount of time spent housebound for many across Australia in recent years, it’s no wonder snacking is more popular.
The ‘Snack it Good’ report released by YouGov and Fancy Plants last year found that 49% of those surveyed snacked more during lockdown. This echoes findings from Mondelēz the previous year that found 88% of surveyed adults globally were snacking more (4%) or at the same level (42%) during the pandemic compared with previously.
Covid-19 has not only shaped the frequency of snacking occasions, but also what snacks are chosen.
Looking at what is happening in retail and across social media, PLAY Associate Director Andrew Turner cites dichotomy between the emotional ‘indulgence/gratification’ and the ‘back to basics/healthy’ movements.
“Courtesy of Covid and multiple lockdowns, many have sought some comfort food, and the snacking brands have been offering up all kinds of nostalgic mash-ups of flavours – for example Vegemite plus [insert savoury option], tomato sauce, Krispy Kreme Tee Vee Snacks, etc – to garner emotional connection and a bit of ‘release’ during testing times,” he says.
“We even saw Tasty Toobs return to the shelves, thanks to Shane Warne – another slice of ‘90s memorabilia.”
On the flip side, he adds, the role of fresh and ‘whole foods’ as wholesome snacking alternatives has been strong for a while, “and is increasingly bolstered by the notion of supporting local”.
He points to the miniaturisation of core fruits and vegetables, such as super-mini-cherry tomatoes, Qukes, mini carrots, and kid-size apples and mandarins, as a key push to get fresh into more lunchboxes and fridges.
Somewhere in between, he adds, is ‘better-for-you’ snacking, featuring vegetables such as beetroot, sweet potato and pea pods presenting as crisps, “that go beyond the sometimes-maligned potato chip”.
“Long story short: on one hand we have nostalgia driving flavour combos, which provide us comfort, and on the other hand we have veg as a hero for the control we can implement in our day-to-day,” says Mr Turner.
Read more about the snacks and snacking trends in the March issue of Retail World.