Savory Social Media Listening
Listening Dates: January 1, 2018 – March 31, 2018
Overview of Current Trends
When focusing on social media content generated by news articles, brands, and Savory trendsetters, products that deliver healthier alternative options and health-conscious savory snacks are on target.
Vegan and Healthier Meat Options
In this section, it’s important to understand that plant-based foods grew 8.1% during the past year, according to the Plant Based Foods Association. Meat analogues have had a steady presence in these newsletters and the forward momentum continues. ALDI recently announced a new vegan line, Earth Grown, where all offerings are meat free. This new line includes: protein-packed Jumbo Hot Dogs, Meatless Meatballs, Chicken-less Tenders, Thai Veggie Burgers and Asian Veggie Burgers. Vegan mozzarella and various styles of vegetable patties are also available.
It’s not just grocery stores with these meat free options; fast-food chain, McDonald’s, just released their first vegan item: McVeganburger. The McVeganburger contains a soybean steak, mustard, ketchup, eggless McFeastsauce, tomato, pickles, onions and salad on a roll. But before you get too excited, it’s currently only available in Finland and Sweden with no word of when it will make its way to the US. Here’s an exciting and interesting fact which probably propelled McDonald’s to respond to consumer demands: According to a 2017 poll by Animal Rights Sweden, almost 1 in 10 Swedes is now vegetarian or vegan. Among the under-30s, the figure is an even more staggering 1 in 5.
Another one worth mentioning is a new item on fast-food chain Sonic’s menu: the blended beef-mushroom burger. Adding mushrooms will highlight the umami taste, add more moisture and reduce the amount of beef needed for a burger. The patty is comprised of 25-30% mushrooms, which will provide less fat, fewer calories, and, in theory, reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Stiff Competition in the Healthy Snack Segment
According to a study from the Organic Trade Association, Millennials account for 52% of all organic shoppers. This is most likely a primary factor in the strategy of Unilever entering the organic snack space. Growing Roots will offer a variety of four flavors when it launches later this year: Cocoa Chipotle, Pineapple Coconut Rum, Maple Bourbon, and Coconut Curry.
To further support the trend of Millennials in the organic space, another study came out regarding the growth of snacking, which PepsiCo is trying to capitalize on with their recent launch of Naked-branded fruit, nut, and veggie bars. The chilled bars rolled out in February and are available in 3 flavors: almond, cranberry, and spinach; apples, kale, and pistachios; and berries, carrots, and quinoa.
RXBAR was a rather small company-that was until they were acquired by Kellogg for $600 million last fall. Currently offering only bars, the company recently announced they will be entering the nut butter space to compete with brands like Justin’s. RXBAR nut butter flavors will be peanut butter, peanut butter honey cinnamon, and almond vanilla. Multiple-serving jars will be introduced at a later date.
Healthy Snack Options
Protes’ business motto is to provide snack alternatives to protein bars. Their first product launch was Protes protein chips which achieved great success. They are now releasing Protes Protein Popcorn! Protes ready-to-eat popcorn is air-popped, whole grain, non-GMO, low fat, and contains 10g of protein. It is arriving in stores this spring and will be available in white cheddar and sweet cinnamon flavors. Protein based snacks are really making an impact in the snack industry!
Protein popcorn may be a product you would find off the beaten path but this next one is right in line with today’s trends. According to PepsiCo, their snacks sector has consistently been outpacing their beverages, which had been the core of the company. To capitalize on this continuing trend, the company recently released a brand called Off the Eaten Path. Again, targeting Millennials and “snackers”, this product consists of crisps made with rice, black beans, chickpeas and other less-processed ingredients with a tagline of “Snacks for the curious.”
Chips with Spice!
Away with the healthy and onto the comfort snacks! Taco Bell announced in March they will be having some presence in the grocery and convenience store space with their new sauce flavored chips! You guessed right, the sauce packets that Taco Bell is so generous with giving away at the drive-thru will now be available in tortilla chip form. The chip line includes three flavors: Fire (flavored with jalapeno, chili peppers and paprika), Mild (flavored with three chili peppers and cumin) and Classic (salted). This isn’t just a win for Taco Bell, but also retailers. Taco Bell is reintroducing trendy flavors into the snack department offering a wider range of products for consumers. Think these will go unnoticed? Probably not –Taco Bell, like other major fast-food chains, has pretty large brand equity so we bet consumers will want to get their hands all over these next month!
If you watched the Super Bowl Sunday commercials this year, then you should be familiar with this new item to be released from Doritos. Blaze will be adding to the already established 14 other Doritos flavors, owned by Frito-Lay Company. So what exactly is Blaze, you ask? Doritos Blaze are spicy, red-hued chips that deliver on the current trend of mouth-tingling hot snacks like Hot Cheetos and Takis. This edition also won’t be as spicy and not as much lime flavor as some of the other popular Dorito flavors. This officially hit retailers around the end of January.
“Fresh” Breakfast On-The-Go
Kraft Heinz has a new solution for Americans with an on-the-go lifestyle, but who don’t want to miss out on a hot breakfast. “Just Crack an Egg” is Kraft’s new product that combines convenience, freshness, and great taste. It’s a savory hot breakfast made with real ingredients that can be prepared in less than two minutes. Flavors include: Denver (ham, mild cheddar cheese, onions, green peppers, and diced potatoes); All American (uncured bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and diced potatoes); Ultimate (sausage, mild cheddar cheese, onions, bell peppers, and diced potatoes); and Rustic (turkey sausage, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, onions, red peppers, and diced potatoes).
Salad Growth in UK
Unilever has been busy with new releases, first their new Growing Roots snack item and now this: 2 new flavors in Hellmann’s salad dressing. But just like the McDonald’s Vegan burger, these flavors aren’t available in the US just yet. UK gets to experience the new tastes of Sesame and Soy, and Coconut and Lime salad dressings. These were most likely released in UK because, as stated by director Jon Walbancke, “Salads are in exponential growth, but currently just 37% are consumed with an ambient accompaniment.” Unilever believes this to be a massive opportunity in this meal segment so we wouldn’t be surprised if they continue testing and releasing new flavors!