May 2023 Newsletter 

The Snack Bar Evolution – Meeting Expectations for Flavor, Function, and Format

Snack and nutrition bars are an essential category in North America. Generating more than $7.4 billion annually, the handheld, sometimes bite-sized bars are in more than two-thirds of households. Frequent buyers turn to bars several days a week, with options for athletes, children, and on-the-go adults.  

The versatile base of grains, seeds, nuts, or fruits offers brands the opportunity to deliver basic nutrition, functional benefits, and delicious flavors.  With innovation softening, bar brands have opportunities to respond to evolving needs for formats, formulas, and flavors.  

Let’s take deep dive into the current snack and nutrition bar market, tapping into consumer trends for insights that will inspire your next innovation!


How the Snack Bar Market is Evolving to Meet Consumer Needs

Although growth of snack and nutrition bars stalled in 2020, the market is bouncing back!  Forecasters anticipate moderate gains through 2024 with value outpacing volume in the U.S. and consumption driving increases in Canada.  

Read our recent blog post to learn how bar brands are driving growth by infusing healthful indulgence through ingredients and turning to new shapes to support portion control. You’ll also discover the top, fastest growing, and novel flavors to consider for your snack or nutrition bar brand!  


The Snack Bar Evolution: Ideas for Flavor, Function, and Format

Snack and nutrition bar brands have multiple opportunities to bring innovation to bar buyers. Our latest webcast explores several pathways for brands to consider including: 

  • Returning to bars’ origins as a fast and healthy breakfast option
  • Delivering improved nutritional profiles without compromising on taste
  • Exploring formats and flavors that create connections

We’ve shared formulas and flavors aligned with the innovation pathways, too! FlavorSum’s Director of Marketing Lisa Jackson will lead you through the insights, trends, and prototypes that can help you find your formula for success with snack bars.


Predictions Spotlight: Down to Earth Flavors

Our team continues to watch the food and beverage landscape to report on the overarching themes identified in our 2023 flavor predictions report.  We began our deep dives with insights about Flavors for Feel Good Food and Beverages.  Now, we’re exploring how product developers are using Down to Earth Flavors like botanicals, florals, and mushrooms to impart delicious flavor and align with functional goals.

While botanicals are mainstays in the functional beverage category, earthy flavors also offer opportunities in bakery, dairy, and confections.  Our spotlight blog presents trends and recently introduced foods and beverages, along with insider perspectives and consumer trends.

Noteworthy stats affecting the potential of down-to-earth flavors include the following:

  • Forecasters anticipate the floral flavors market will grow 5.7% annually through 2032 (Future Market Insights)
  • 68% of US consumers have tried and liked a mushroom flavor at a restaurant (Mintel)

Supply Chain Corner

Cocoa Prices are Up as Demand Grows While Crop Size Diminishes

Cocoa futures are on the rise, with NY Cocoa’s May report posting a 7-year nearest-futures high.  Factors pushing prices up include:

A reduced supply of cocoa from key regions. 

  • Ghana Cocoa Marketing Company, a leading producer, reports the spread of swollen shoot disease threatens cocoa yields in the region. For the months between October 2022 and May 2023, metric tons shipped dropped by 4.7% vs the year ago period.  The second harvest that began in April may produce 25% less cocoa than last year.
  • Nigeria, ranked fifth for global cocoa bean production, also reported lower exports with metric tons down -35% in March vs year ago. 

Demand for cocoa increased across most of the world in the first quarter.

  • Asia led gains (+4.1%) followed by North America (+2.4%) and Europe (+0.5%). 
  • Six of the world’s top cocoa producers reported Q1 demand up +22%.

The short-term position is still favorable, with current cocoa inventories at a 7-7.5 month high in the U.S. and Europe.

If you have questions about the impact of cocoa prices on your formula and want to explore flavor solutions, please reach out to the FlavorSum team.

Regulatory Corner

Food Date Labeling Act Back on the Table in US Congress

After losing momentum in 2021, the congressional effort to set standards for food date labels is back in play. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t currently require product dates on for foods and beverages (except for infant formula).  Manufacturers can use their discretion when including sell-by, use-by, expiration, or production dates. 

Legislators are now resurrecting the Food Date Labeling Act  in an effort to establish a uniform solution to dating products. The proposed bill strives to simplify labels using two phrases: “Best if Used By” to indicate quality and “Use By” to tell people the last date for safe consumption. Abbreviations like BB (Best if Used By) and UB (Use By) are options on limited space labels.  Producers can also include “Freeze By” with a quality date or discard date.  

If passed, the legislation would trump state laws banning sale or donation of food past the quality date.  And importantly, with food-at-home prices predicted to average 6.6% above last year, the new product dating system would reduce the amount of safe food thrown away prematurely.

Get Food and Beverage News You Can Use with FlavorSum Discover

Staying up to date with the trends, insights, and innovations that are most relevant for your food or beverage brand could be a full-time role!  By signing up for FlavorSum Discover, you’ll receive curated content specific to your application and product development challenges. Our experts offer insights through our weekly blog, monthly newsletter, on-demand webcasts, videos, e-books, or white papers. Choose your categories and the content format you like to use to achieve your innovation goals, and we’ll deliver straight to your in-box!


FlavorSum Team News

Celebrating our Growing Team

FlavorSum continues to bring in the talent and expertise to help you achieve your food and beverage development goals.  Your success is a top priority at FlavorSum, and our team commits to doing what’s right for your brand every day.

We welcomed the following people to FlavorSum in May:

    • Gary – Production Associate, Mt. Laurel, NJ
    • D’Cher – Packager, Kalamazoo, MI
Visit our Careers page to learn about new opportunities on the FlavorSum team

How would you rate our insights?

In the June issue of FlavorSum Insights:

What’s Happening with Bakery, Beverage,
Confection, and Dairy Product Innovation?

Let’s Connect and Share Daily Flavor News!

Past Issues

April 2023

News from Spring Food and Beverage Trade Shows

MARCH 2023

Finding Sweet Success with Ice Cream


How Generational Habits Shift Food and Beverage Trends