New Year, New Snacks: 10 of Puffworks’ Predicted Snack Trends for 2020


Right when we think we’ve seen it all, the new year always welcomes an overwhelming number of new trending snacks and food fads. Here are 9 snack trends Puffworks is predicting for 2020.

  1. Puffed snacks

Take a look at your local grocery store’s snack aisle and you’re bound to see an endless array of popped or puffed snacks. This emerging category can offer endless better-for-you possibilities considering these snacks tend to contain less calories, added oils, and sugars than conventional ‘salty-snacks’. They can also be made with a variety of ingredients such as nuts , beans, peas, corn, and other whole-grains.

  1. Plant-based protein

People are starting to better understand the benefits of adding a sufficient amount of high-quality protein to their diet—specifically from plant-based sources. It is no news that plant-based proteins are better for the environment, more affordable, and often contain additional benefits such as fiber, vitamins, and more. Many new snacks are boasting the amount of plant-based protein their product contains and making a conscious effort to offer such choices.

  1. Simple Ingredients 

Ever look at the back of a snack package and immediately put it back on the shelf after seeing the overwhelming number of unrecognizable ingredients the product contains? This is often seen as a red-flag for many consumers and at the same time…that’s a lot of reading—ain’t nobody got time for that! Less ingredients are generally associated with a less processed snack, but make sure to check quality over quantity. There are many benefits to simpler ingredients and more people are reaching for the option that contains ingredients they can recognize and pronounce. Sometimes less is more in terms of benefits!

  1. Healthy Fats

For years, fats had been seen as the enemy. On a macro-nutrient level, fats contain more than twice as many calories than proteins and carbohydrates. Many food companies were previously taking the fat out but adding sugar to make a product lower in calories (very sneaky!) The thing is, fats help us to feel satisfied, control blood-sugar, absorb certain vitamins, and they simply make food taste better. The popular opinion is very much shifting away from the old mind-set, and high-quality fats from foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, certain oils, etc. are getting the appreciation they deserve.

  1. Put a Veggie in it! 

From veggie chips to adding greens to protein bars, people are starting to prioritize getting more vegetables in their diets. Of course, nothing compares to the whole-foods version of getting your greens, but it is great to see consumers choosing snacks that have additional benefits. And if cauliflower can somehow become pizza—you, my friend, can be anything you set your mind to as well.

  1. Unlikely Pairings

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, another snack comes around and introduces a combination that you never would imagine working—but it totally does (dessert hummus anyone?). Who would ever think that a ‘cheetoh minus the cheese and instead covered in peanut butter’, chocolate covered gnocchi, or boozy ice cream would be the exact cravings missing from our lives. This simply proves there is no end in sight for food innovation (which is something very exciting for snack lovers like us!) 

  1. Texture Takes Precedence

It is no shock that flavor is at the front-end of what matters to people looking for new snacks. If it tastes gross, people won’t buy it—point blank. But with so many delicious choices out there, companies need to start differentiating themselves from the rest—and texture is a great place to do this. An additional chewiness to your candy bar, a subtle touch of granulated cane sugar, or the perfect balance of crunchy yet moist (sorry) can go a long way in terms of consumers finding their new favorite snack. 

  1. Location, Location, Location 

There is something about choosing a local product over the conventional that just makes us feel a little bit better about ourselves—despite the price tag. People are recognizing the importance of supporting more local brands and realizing that these artisan products are often made with more natural, better-for-you ingredients. Don’t be surprised to see more shelves with little ‘Local Company!’ tags hanging off of them.  

  1. A Twist on Nostalgia

We all want to feel and snack like a kid again—and snack companies are picking up on this! More brands are taking old-school classics we all know and love and giving them a better-for-you twist. Whether this is taking away unnecessary added sugars, using organic/ natural ingredients or dyes, or making a more allergen-friendly versions, expect to see your favorite snacks from child-hood with a more modern take.

  1. More Snacks, Less Meals 

As much as we’d all like to make more time to sit down and mindfully enjoy a home cooked meal, we live in a very fast paced society—and that only seems to be an increasing trend. According to certain new sources such as Food Dive, an increasing number of adults are prefer of quick, convenient, yet nutritionally functional snacks over eating a full meal. Many food brands are picking up on this need for convenience, and offering easy, better-for-you snacking options to satisfy those busy (but health conscious!) worker bees.

Regardless of what crazy new snack you’ll see next one thing we believe is that better-for-you snacking is here to stay.