Consumer demand is driving innovation in less traditional snacks such as crackers and meat-based products

There has been a lot of movement within snacks over the past year with a number of players, both big and small, including Unilever, Jacob’s and Union Snack, hitting the market with less traditional snacking options.
Consumers looking for quick, easy and satisfying snacks are driving demand for innovation, says Unilever UK Foods.
“Consumers are increasingly looking for new and innovative snacking products, something that is a little different from the traditional offerings,” says business manager Simon Barnett. “The adult snacking market represents a massive opportunity for retailers, as there is strong demand for on-the-go products or ones that are easy and quick to prepare at work.”
To cash in on this demand, the food giant launched Canniballs under its Peperami brand - balls of Peperami wrapped in
soft bread in an 80g bag, into the bagged snacks market last September.
Not to be left out, Jacob’s introduced the ‘healthier and tastier’ brand Essentials - a cracker/crispbread hybrid, which has a higher content of vitamins, minerals and fibre and is lower in fat than conventional crackers, to its range at the beginning of the year. At launch, the company predicted the newcomer would rack up sales of £7m in its first year and, with further additions to the range, could be as big as the company’s £33m crackers brand.
Union Snack recently unveiled a contemporary new look for its Penn State Pretzels, as well as a new Cheddar cheese flavour and 6x30g multipack format. The range has also been adapted to make it even more attractive to the health conscious.
“When relaunching our Penn State Pretzels brand, we decided to ensure that our range was consistent. We redeveloped our flavoured pretzels to contain less than 10% fat, with the salted variants all being less than 5%,” says sales and marketing director John Vincent. He predicts the £6m brand will grow by 40% in value this year.
Beef jerky brand Rocking JC announced the launch of two new flavours, primarily targeting 18 to 30-year-old men and in line with consumer demand for natural alternatives to the usual snacking options.
Manufacturer The Jerky Group says the UK beef jerky category is forecast to reach £35m within the next five years.