Fresh Snacking: A 2020 Whole Foods Trends

Good news! Whole Foods Market recently released its anticipated “Top 10 Food Trends for 2020.” The top trends include fresh, refrigerated and grab-and-go snacking. High-Pressure Processing, HPP, plays an important role in the fresh, refrigerated snack food market by increasing shelf life without chemical additives and preservatives—creating the clean label that today’s snack consumers demand. The secret is right in the name—pressure. With HPP, the food is subjected to immense water pressure, which crushes pathogens without ever having to subject the food to nutrition-degrading heat. This means that the processed snacks keep their fresh taste, texture and nutrients better than with other processing methods.

The keyword is “fresh” in this new grab-and-go generation—gone are the days when the only options were dry granola bars and mini pretzel bags. Instead, grocery refrigerated sections are full of fresh snacks, like hard-boiled eggs with savory toppings, pickled vegetables, drinkable soups and mini dips and dippers of all kinds. Even better, they’re all perfectly portioned and in convenient single-serve packaging. By adding fresh fruits and vegetables, even nutrition bars have made their way from the shelves to the fridge. These snacking innovations mean that ingredient lists are shrinking, and it’s easy to grab a quick snack you can feel better about.

Fresh snacking is not just a trend concept—fresh snacking sales show the growing demand for fresh snacks. According to SPINS (Chicago, IL), the $17.5 billion U.S. health and wellness snacking category is growing 6% annually. In this category, the fresh snacks subset made up $6.8 billion and grew 8% annually, while the larger shelf-stable snack portion was at $10.7 billion and grew 5%. The growth blows the $40.3 billion conventional snacking categories, which declined 2% annually. The fresh snack category’s growth was especially prominent in the natural, organic, and specialty-focused channels.

Driving this fresh snacking renaissance are millennials, who list freshness as one of their top concerns when buying snacks. Since companies stepped up pushing snacks from the shelf to the fridge in 2008, new product launches in the fresh category have quadrupled. The new generation of fresh snack products includes more preservative-free, whole foods that appeal to today’s consumers.

Fresh snack options that use HPP include Good Foods’ guac and plant-based dips, including vegan queso; Medlie’s veggie pots; Hope Foods’ innovative hummus flavors like Black Garlic, Thai Coconut Curry, and Spicy Avocado; Applegate’s charcuterie plates and snack packs featuring Genoa Salami & Cheddar and Pepperoni & Cheddar; and also Cedarlane’s organic Four Beans & Swiss Chard Salad and Red Beets, Red Onion & Fennel Salad. All these delicious and healthy options make this a trend that’s worth trying!