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The rise of savoury snacks

Could a butternut squash muffin elicit excitement? It certainly made my day when I unexpectedly found it in a café, complete with a “savoury” description on its name card. As it turns out this savoury snack food trend is picking up traction.

According to Baum Whiteman International Food and Restaurant Consultants, savoury snack foods are among the hottest food trends of 2016. Consumers appear to be looking for options other than sugar-laden yogurts, baked goods, bars, and other simple carbohydrate sweetened snacks that are typical of grab-and-go options.

Thrillist and Global Food Forums report savoury yogurts popping up in U.S. markets. Two yogurt brands in the U.S., Blue Hill Yogurt and Chobani, are first to market with the savoury flavours. The savoury yogurts Chobani is producing include flavours like Sriracha Mango and Chipotle Pineapple.

Both still have evaporated cane juice in the top three ingredients, explaining the near tablespoon of sugar (14 grams) per 150 gram serving.

So while Chobani’s savoury flavours may be on-trend, they aren’t answering the demand for lower sugar products.

Blue Hill, on the other hand has six savoury flavours including Tomato, Carrot, Beet, and Parsnip with much less sweetener, averaging 8 grams sugar per 150 gram pot of yogurt. The Canadian market is still yet to see producers offering savoury flavours, but may be something to keep on your radar.

Some hot savoury products that may warrant being grouped in sections to draw attention

Savoury bars

Kind bars have a nut and spice category with lower sugar than your average snack bar. Many of the varieties contain only four to six grams of sugar per bar, which is on average 15 grams less sugar than many bars on the market.  Flavours like Black Truffle Almond and Sea Salt (with 4 grams of sugar), or Dark Chocolate Chili Almond (with 5 grams of sugar) offer variation for the taste buds beyond the typical nut and chocolate or honey combination of many bars.

Mediterra bars could be lined in beside KIND’s savoury varieties, with flavours like Black Olive and Walnut (with 3 grams of sugar), Sundried Tomato and Basil (with 4 grams of sugar), Bell Peppers and Green Olives (with 2 grams of sugar), and of course Kale and Pumpkin Seed (with 1 gram of sugar). This line is inspired by the Mediterranean diet which promotes whole grains, nuts and seeds, and limited added sweeteners which is reflected by this savoury line.

Good ol’ legumes

The selection of crunchy snacks in a bag now goes way beyond chips and nuts. Crunchy dried bean snacks are abundant, with companies like The Good Bean offering roasted chickpeas, Chruncha ma•me offering, you guessed it, freeze dried edamame.

Legume-based snacks are lower in calories and fat than chips or nuts, and higher in protein and fibre. They are also school-safe options for lunches for families as they are nut-free.

The popularity of hummus dips made with chickpeas has opened the market to other savoury dips using lentils or even nuts. Spread ‘Em Kitchen’s Dips use cashews as a base for their savoury dips like Beet and Balsamic Vinegar, Cilantro Pumpkin Seed, or Cashew Carrot & Chili.

Beyond pre-packaged snacks, retailers could consider creating in-house savoury muffins, scones, or other baked goods using whole grain flours for their health enthusiast customers. Remember, that Butternut Squash Muffin did make my day; it had me so excited I told everyone who would listen, including you.

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