Fresh Snacking is a Driving Force in Clean Label Products

In a recent article from Mintel, they provided new statistics showing that fresh snacking is a driving force behind clean label products. While consumers have been gravitating towards organic, natural, and non-GMO to define a clean label product, “fresh” has emerged a new attribute. According to Mintel’s research, consumers are determining fresh as free of preservatives and typically a refrigerated product. How much is fresh snacking growing in the marketplace?

The Growth of Fresh Snacking

New data from SPINS shows that 94% of adults snack daily with the entire snacking market size at over $57 billion in sales annually. While conventional snacking makes up the lion share of the market, health and wellness snacking have been on the rise with a 6% annual growth rate. To no surprise, the health and wellness sector of the market is being driven by the growth in fresh snacking products. Mintel identified the top products that clearly define the fresh snacking category: protein snack packs, refrigerated protein bars, drinkable soups, yogurts, guacamole, hummus, and bottled smoothies.

The millennial and iGen consumers are a driving force behind these products as they continue to demand clean labels with simple, whole food ingredients.

How is Fresh Snacking Evolving?

Protein and essential nutrients have been important attributes in the evolution of fresh snacking over the past 10+ years. Mintel estimates that fresh snacking started in 2005 due to innovation from smaller brands and experimental convenience formats from big brands. SPINS data showed that the market began to take off in 2008 as fresh snacking product launches increased 4x over between 2008 and 2017.


The fresh aspect of the new snacks became a rallying call for brick and mortar retailers as the shipping costs of e-commerce make it virtually impossible to deliver these types of products for a profit. New surveys from Mintel indicate that 33% of shoppers are now looking for new foods on the perimeter of the grocery store with 25% saying that is where they make impulse purchases.

The Future of the Category

As the category continues to explode, there will be opportunities for new segments to jump in like chilled desserts. New segments will continue to take advantage of the use of whole food ingredients and no preservatives. Some brands are looking for a way to add whole food, plant-based vitamins and minerals to the products to enhance the nutrition facts label and their ingredient statement. Companies like NutriFusion are providing new products with easy to use fruit and vegetable powders rich in vitamins and minerals. Brands are making powerful claims like Rich in Antioxidants,  Vitamins From X fruits and vegetables, etc. to entice consumers to buy at the perimeter of the store.

What comes next for the fresh snacking category?

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