Thinner snacks

Snack trend: Think thin

Thinning is winning in the US snack aisle, as food companies introduce thinner, crispier cookies and crackers. “Less is more” is the essence of the “thin” trend – less thickness means more pieces the consumer can eat for less or the same amount of calories as the original or thicker counterparts.

A recent addition to the leaner lineup is Mondelez’s Wheat Thins Even Thinner. The crackers are 14% thinner, allowing snackers to eat 22 crackers rather than 16 of the original Wheat Thins for the same calorie count.

Consumer demand for healthier options has driven this trend, said James Russo, senior vice-president of global consumer insights at Nielsen that has found that portion control is most popular in North America as a means of managing weight and staying healthy, so slimmer snacks cater to that movement.

“Two trends are playing heavily into the ‘thins’ snacking trend, the first being the growth of health and wellness within the grocery food space,” Russo said. “Consumers are actively opting for healthier options in grocery. The second ties to a shift of how Americans are eating today. We are becoming a nation of grazing snackers as we shift away from the traditional meal times.

“Here is where the two trends collide – when it comes to snacking, consumers want both indulgent and healthy options. With this, the ‘thinning’ trend we are seeing in the grocery snack aisle reflects another way for consumers to indulge in their favourite snacks with a little less guilt.

“Pretzel thins, cracker crisps and even cookie thins are all fairly new options for consumers. This dynamic of healthy and indulgent has inspired brands to introduce healthier versions of their classic offerings with new products that address healthier ingredients, smaller serving sizes and thinner varieties.”

Last summer Mondelez also introduced Oreo Thins, a skinnier, crispier version of the popular cookie. The serving size for Oreo Thins is four cookies for 140 calories, while three original Oreo cookies weigh in at 160 calories.

“This seems to be the year of the thin cookie,” said Brooke Smith, president of Salem Baking Co, Winston-Salem, NC. “As a brand that has been making thin cookies for more than 85 years, we know quite a bit about the allure of this style of cookie.”

Salem Baking manufactures super-thin Moravian cookies in an array of flavours like ginger spice and Meyer lemon.

“Thin cookies let you enjoy a few more cookies for fewer calories,” Smith said. “When the quality of a product is higher and the taste is more decadent and satisfying, consumers tend to eat less to feel satisfied. For example, our Meyer Lemon Moravian Cookie Thins have about 130 calories in a nine-cookie serving.” 

Several companies debuted thin products at the 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo last May…..

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