5 Things Consumers Want in a Bar

July 14th, 2021

Almond Series

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Need a midday energy boost? A healthy pre-workout snack? There’s a bar for that.

Consumers are snacking more throughout the day and are increasingly looking for healthier and more convenient snack choices. This trend continues to fuel growth and innovation across a variety of bar categories – from traditional cereal and snack bars to new protein and functional nutrition bars.

With so many options available to consumers, how can you ensure your bar products stand out from the crowd?

Here are five things consumers look for in a bar:

Products made with almond flour are gaining popularity as consumers look for gluten-free versions of their favorite bakery goods, or those that align with specialty diets, such as the paleo or keto diet.

To help you deliver appealing better-for-you bakery products, we talked with Stephanie Doan, Manager of Product Innovation at Blue Diamond, about tips and strategies for innovating with almond flour.

Here are five things consumers look for in a bar:

1. Protein

Today, 32% of consumers check the label for protein.1 As plant-based innovation increases and new protein sources enter the market, product developers are focused on finding the right blends to hit their protein targets and achieve desirable texture and taste in the finished product. According to the Global Food Forum’s Protein Ingredients R&D Report, consumers value clean taste and good flavor the most when it comes to protein.2

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2. A clean label

Consumers are more deliberate about the food choices they make and expect more transparency from the brands they buy. They look for products that feature natural, real food ingredients that they can recognize on the label. According to data from Innova Market Insights, 91% of U.S. consumers believe food products with recognizable ingredients are healthier.3

91% of U.S. consumers believe food products with recognizable ingredients are healthier.3

3. Plant-based nutrition

In the U.S., 30% of Millennial consumers are attempting to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet, and 79% of Gen Z consumers already eat plant-based foods 1-2 times per week.4 Product developers are doubling down on efforts to use more plant-based ingredients in snack and nutrition bars to appeal to younger health-conscious consumers.

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4. New flavors

Sweet, dessert-inspired flavors were early winners in the protein bar category. Now, with 74%5 of consumers trying to limit their sugar consumption, product developers are focusing on savory flavors that explore global spice profiles. Savory options also sync with the evolving role of bars as a meal replacement option, reflecting well-known dishes and cuisines from around the world.

With 74%5 of consumers trying to limit their sugar consumption, product developers are focusing on savory flavors that explore global spice profiles.

5. Texture

Mouthfeel and texture also influence consumers’ bar purchases. In bars, healthy inclusions such as nuts, fruits and seeds can be combined to offer a range of textures and satisfy consumer demand for natural and more nutritious snack options. Almonds are the No. 1 nut used in global new bar product introductions, according to Innova Market Insights. “Crunchy” is the top texture claim appearing on new almond bar introductions.6

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Incorporating almonds in a variety of forms, including almond protein powder and almond butter, can help bar manufacturers increase overall protein content and add other important nutritional benefits to their products. Check out these tips for more expert insights on innovating better bars.

Sources:

  1. The NPD Group/Dieting Monitor. Dec. 2019.
  2. Global Food Forum. 2017.
  3. “Clean Label Trend Shows No Sign of Slowing,” Food Dive. Jan. 2019.
  4. Plant Based Foods Association. 2019.
  5. Food & Health Survey, International Food Information Council. 2020
  6. Global New Product Introductions Report, Innova Market Insights. May 2019.

Filed under: Almond Market Analysis

Article originally published December 2020.

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