Core Trends Insight

Core Trends in Snacking & Drinks



An Insight in to the Hottest Trends




Consumers have given food and drink brands a clear message that a better balance between healthier and tasty snacks is needed. The demand for healthier living isn't going away any time soon. Health and wellness food market is expected to see a growth rate of 5.7% between now and 2024. Supporting and even adapting to changing lifestyles, the UK snack market has never been as tasty, diverse or as on trend. With the boundaries between snacking and traditional meal times blur, how do you understand what is really driving changes in snacking habits? From impulse protein snacking and gut health drinks, to innovative low sugar alternatives and plant based treats, the snacking landscape is set to be dominated by several core trends.


The Six Trends - What Are The Opportunities?


The food and drink industry has seen a wave of innovation in the last few years, with the snacking sector being no exception. When it comes to UK eating habits, 'healthy eating' has been a key focus, bringing a plethora of new and innovative products to the snacking scene. 66% of snackers eat between meals at least once a day, demonstrating how ingrained snacks are in our diets. Time poor modern lifestyles are one core factor fuelling our reliance on snacks, being better educated and aware of what we're putting in to our bodies is another. Above all else, the drive towards healthier living trend has made it more important then ever to offer the right blend of on trend of products to reflect the core trends. Get insights into today’s mega trends by viewing all brands by trend. Simply click a button below to start tapping into the products your customers will love.


We're expecting to see a sustained growth from brands which tap to one or several of the hot trends. Innovative brands will continue to find exciting new solutions and Epicurium as ever, will be sourcing and offering those ranges to help any retailer or business become a go to destination. The trends for healthier eating, veganism, and a demand for free-from ranges will continue. A greater awareness of 'farm to packet' with proud provenance and eco-credentials, a growth in adventurous flavours and innovative twists on traditional favourites will be important in 2020. The snacking industry is full of innovation and with the consumer becoming increasingly demanding, brands are changing their offering in a truly exciting way. Supporting and even adapting to changing lifestyles, the UK snack arena has never been as tasty, diverse or as on trend. Take a closer look below...


Protein   Vegan & Plant Based   Low Sugar


#1 Protein Gets Stronger

Protein based snacks have become a regular staple for a large chunk of consumers; not just gym goers but students, busy commuters and casual snackers. Brands are actively calling out protein content on front panels more often, and in some cases position their entire branding around it. Consumers have become aware of the importance of protein for health, nutrition and well being. The continued assumption that protein equals healthy continues. We’re seeing some great innovative formats in 2020 will include new ready to drink shakes, protein waters, nut butters and ‘meat-like’ plant based alternatives.


#2 More Plant Based Ingredients

Increasingly we’re seeing consumers select products based on aspirational goals, as well as dietary choices – many are limiting their general meat and dairy consumption, picking up the ‘flexitarian’ tag along the way. As people become more conscious about the sourcing of foods, plant-based proteins will likely gain more momentum in the coming years. Overall consumers have been encouraged to eat less meat and businesses - from food producers, fast food restaurants and corporate offices are responding. Initiatives such as ‘Meat Free Mondays’ or campaigns such as ‘Veganuary’ - both enjoying record numbers and coverage in the last 12 months.


#3 Less Sugar is More

Healthier Energy sugar Sports and energy drinks exploded on to the scene two decades ago and has since become a mainstay everyday product for many consumers in the UK. As consumers increasingly look for quick ways to reduce their daily sugar intake, innovative brands have taken the lead, replacing refined sugars with natural alternatives – making them a great choice for a range a wider audience. The notion of 'clean energy' - not packed with synthetic ingredients and sugar like traditional energy drinks - is a phrase set to become the norm in 2020.


Sustainability Advice   Healthier indulgence Advice   Wellbeing Gut Health

#4 Perceptions Change to Packaging

A trend that is rapidly gathering pace. In fact, HIM asked shoppers to rank 8 sustainability issues by importance, and reducing plastic use was ranked as the number one problem shoppers think companies should focus on solving first. We are in the middle of a packaging revolution. The big moment came with Blue Planet II with 88% of people who watched changed their lifestyle. It's almost a prerequisite that brands must be taking steps to make their packaging more sustainable. The heightened focus on single-use plastics is no longer just a trend relegated to certain fringe groups, but a reality that goes beyond the purge of plastic straws. Eco packaging will only become more noticeable.


#5 Indulging is Still OK

Sometimes known as better for you indulgence or permissive indulgence, either way, when it comes to snacking, healthy indulgence can seem like the ultimate contradiction in terms but now a new wave of brands are setting out to prove that customers can have their cake (or rather their snack bars and bites!) and eat it too. Snacks can hit both the health and indulgence marks, as long as they’re brimming with premium, honest and more natural ingredients to delight and please a more conscious consumer who’s willing to treat themselves.


#6 Wellness & Gut Health

Born from people’s desires to eat healthier, be more aware of the foods they are putting in their bodies and understanding the multiple health benefits that come from making nourishing snacking choices. Through a focus on functional foods, wellness-focused brands are making it easier to get consumers looking after their mental and physical health. The rise and evolution of wellness-focused diets such as paleo, keto and high fibre have shown consumers is a clear signs consumers are wanting to look after themselves. Health conscious consumers looking for something that fits their lifestyle better than a bowl of cereal or plate of scrambled eggs. Kombucha, probiotics, cannabidiol, nootropics and kefir recipes are set to increasingly feature in brand claims. Watch this space...