Speaking at the Food Manufacture Group’s latest webinar, Sustainable snacking trends for 2017, Emig told delegates: “Generation Z, the internet native generation, is creating new opportunities and new categories in the snacking sector.”
To fuel their busy lifestyles, such consumers typically ate more snacks on the go and fewer seated meals while making product choices influenced by health consciousness and environmental concerns.
These trends were reflected in rising sales of healthier snacks – containing less fat and less salt – said Emig.
Fortified snack sales were also rising in Europe. That created opportunities for products offering more protein and fibre, favouring products such as snack nuts, meat offerings and legume-based snacks featuring ingredients such as quinoa, lentils, beans and ancient grains.
Sustainably-produced snacks was another priority for Generation Z consumers, said Emig. Such shoppers were increasingly interested in sustainable food ingredient sourcing, focusing on the manufacturers’ use of water and energy consumption. Other topics included minimising food waste and the use of agrochemicals.
“Ethical and environmental claims are rising,” Emig told the webinar audience. “We are seeing snack manufacturers go out and talk more about what they are doing in terms of production and what they are planning to do.”
While sales to Generation Z consumers accounted for a relatively small part of the market at present, that will grow significantly as these shoppers become more affluent and discriminating, he added.
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Overall, the European savoury snacks market performed well in 2015; the latest year for which statistics are available. Sales grew by 1.6% in volume and 2.4% in value compared with the previous year, according to Euromonitor.
Branded and own-label
The market was characterised by preference for light, flexible and convenient snacking options, together with fierce competition between branded and own-label products.
Dominating the category in most European markets were potato crisps. Crisps accounted for 44% of savoury snack sales in the UK, with further grown expected.
Crisps also held the largest shared of the market in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Norway.
Other speakers taking part in the webinar – sponsored by the Almond Board of California (ABC) – included Innova Market Insights director of innovation Lu Ann Williams, who identified two key global trends driving sales and ABC’s senior sustainability specialist Danielle Veenstra.
You can listen to the one-hour webinar, first broadcast on June 15, after registering for your free place, at any time until the end of August.
What is Generation Z?
“Gen Z is part of a generation that is global, social, visual and technological. They are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation ever. They are the up-agers, with influence beyond their years. They are the tweens, the teens, the youth and young adults of our global society. They are the early adopters, the brand influencers, the social media drivers, the pop-culture leaders. They comprise nearly 2bn people globally, and they don’t just represent the future, they’re creating it.
“Gen Zs have been born into the crisis period of terrorism, the global recession and climate change. They are predicted to spend their young adult years in a time of economic and social renewal. They are also living in an era of changing household structures, and are the students of today and university graduates, employees and consumers of tomorrow.”