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Snacking is more than just a trend; it’s a lifestyle shift. As the lines between dayparts continue to blur, consumers are fueling up with more frequent snacks rather than formal full-sized meals. One-fifth of consumers say they are snacking more often than they did prior to the pandemic. Only 11% say they are snacking less.1 And while 78% of consumers cite non-functional reasons for snacking (treating themselves, stress and boredom), 22% say they expect to snack on healthier items in the next six months ahead, with those under 35 showing the most interest in healthy snacks.2 Chefs can benefit by reducing the size of their entrées, focusing on quality over quantity, considering healthful additions and offering larger appetizers that can serve double-duty as sharable bites or a filling snack.
Some operators are finding inspiration from none other than the snack aisle. Jerky is seeing elevated twists in terms of flavor and protein. Salmon jerky, pineapple jerky, and carrot jerky have all been spotted on menus across the US. Chips are experiencing a similar trend with alternative takes including crunchy eggplant, taro, and bean-blend crisps. Crave-worthy snack flavors make an appearance in unexpected ways—for example, a classic cheese puff snack has been transformed into the coating for boneless chicken wings.
Playing with portion size allows operators the opportunity to reinvent menu favorites, but also gives guests the ability to customize their dining experience. One US fast food chain offers a box full of their famous fried tacos miniaturized while a health-conscious independent with 5 locations in Colorado serves a snack menu filled with sustaining puddings, protein bites, and oats.
Cuisines rich in street foods are naturally primed to meet the needs of snackers. Traditional Indian dishes (such as pani puri, aloo chaat and samosas) and Brazilian bites (including cod croquettes, goat cheese and artichokes) showcase mouthwatering flavors in small packages. One fast casual restaurant in the UK serves up vegan dishes like mac and “cheeze” bites and truffle street-corn ribs that straddle the line between permissible and indulgent snacking.
Convenient, portable and satisfying—snackable options that satiate are here to stay!
Savory lunch-focused snacks that can be consumed as mini meals are a growing category for innovation exploration.
With the growth of healthy and functional snacking, consumers are demanding nourishing ingredients—but flavor is still the top priority.
Foodservice operators will continue to innovate, transforming traditional entrées into smaller bites and appetizers as a way to keep up with consumer snacking behavior.
Snacks are the “entrée” of choice at many global restaurants, with small plates, appetizers and street foods as the core menu focus. Mini meals and shareable dishes have demonstrated their true consumer appeal.
The grab-and-go model, already popular among C&U and healthcare systems, combined with disruptions to normal eating patterns during the pandemic catapulted snacking options offered at these establishments. Smaller grab-and-go portions, protein packs, snack carts and more are available across campuses for student, employee and patient convenience.
As meal kits and subscription services have expanded beyond dinner as well as help busy consumers stock their pantries, snacks, add-ons and light meals are becoming commonplace amongst ordering options. Examples include flavorful seed and nut blends, already-prepped ingredients for fresh smoothies and balanced snack packs.
The popularity of snacking goes to show that big flavors can come in small packages. Chef Mark Serice is here with an Indian-inspired recipe that showcases on-trend flavor, convenience and portability—all key attributes of the snacking way of life. Watch as he prepares Soy-Skin-Wrapped Dumplings, savory tofu skin pockets stuffed with curried sweet potato, pan-fried to a perfect crisp and served with a tamarind and turmeric root chutney.
Get inspired by these on-trend concepts to create innovative offerings using Custom Culinary® products.
Crispy Chinese 5-spice scallion battered chicken served with a seasame chili dipping sauce.
Featuring: Custom Culinary® Korean-Style Barbecue Sauce
A trio of fluffy steamed bao buns filled with mole braised chicken, pickled cucumbers and carrots, fresh scallions and black and white sesame seeds. Drizzled with creamy avocado sauce.
Featuring: Custom Culinary® Mole Negro Sauce
Crispy tempura-fried cauliflower florets tossed in a Korean-style sweet heat sauce and served with a gochujang lime aioli.
Featuring: Custom Culinary® Korean-Style Sweet Heat Sauce and Custom Culinary® Bibimbap Sauce
Griffith Sustainably Sourced (GSS), our strategic sourcing program, creates farm-level integration of our supply chain to increase the amount of raw materials sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, improve the well-being of farmers and enable farm-to-table traceability.
As an example, Griffith Foods sources more Indian chiles than any other spice or herb. Through our partnership with chili farmers in India, farmers gain better cultivation practices to grow sustainable yields, enhance soil management and reduce crop waste. And because we purchase directly, the farmers are better compensated for their crops.
Visit the GSS website to learn more about how we create shared value for our customers, our partners and the environment.
“Snacks should be fun to eat and add excitement to your diet. Chefs can add to consumers eating experience with healthy innovative snacks that are good for the body and the environment. Whatever the creation, taste is at the forefront.”
–Chef Michael Hornback
Snacking is here to stay! The lines between dayparts are blurring, and one reason may be that consumers’ eating habits have been shifting away from full-size meals to more frequent middle-of-the-day snacks. Smaller meals can capitalize on convenience and portability for on-the-go eaters while meeting consumer demand for snackable options that satiate. Join Chef David as he takes us on a Snacking Way of Life journey.
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*Custom Culinary® is part of the Griffith Foods family of companies.
1,2 Technomic Snacking Consumer Trend Report, February 2022 quoted by FoodserviceDirector.com, 5 Stats on How Consumers are Snacking, Mar. 7, 2022
Mintel Consulting, 2022 FlavorIQ® Global Trends and Insights Report, January 2022.