Snacks for ‘Permissible Indulgence’

Hoping to raise the health profile for snack foods, more companies are offering snacks made from ingredients with better nutritional credentials, such as black beans, brown rice, seaweed and parsnips.

The proportion of consumers reporting that they eat 3-4 snacks a day rose to 31% in 2013, up from 19% in 2010, according to Chicago market research firm IRI. To help people feel better about snacking amid concerns such as obesity, many companies have been working to eliminate trans fats and reduce saturated fats in products.  “Consumers are looking for ‘permissible indulgence’—that’s the big buzzword,” says Lu Ann Williams, head of research at Netherlands-based Innova Market Insights.

A few examples:

  • Traditional Triscuits now come in brown rice, red bean and vegetable varieties
  • Dried Kale Leaves: one of the trendiest foods, dehydrated with other ingredients like bell peppers and sunflower seeds for a chip-like crunch
  • Beanitos’ Original Black Bean with Sea Salt boasts that it is ‘corn free,’ with 5 grams of fiber
  • Roasted Seaweed Snacks: in the first half of this year, 16 new seaweed-containing snacks were introduced

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