“Crunch” Time For Snack Manufacturers

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

Asia Pacific snack market is expanding at twice the global growth rate. How can snack manufacturers capture the attention of consumers by creating their signature texture? By Lilian Tan, marketing manager for Texture and Delivery Systems, Ingredion APAC

You snack, we snack—everyone snacks. People snack for a wide variety of reasons; some snack to satisfy their cravings, while others may snack to keep themselves feeling sated between meals. Despite these differences, there is a common ground everybody stands on: We all love a delicious, moreish snack.

On the back of higher demand for time-effective and economical options, as well as greater reliance of snacks as a bridge between regular meals, the snack market is blossoming. Global snack sales are set to increase by two percent annually to reach US$410 billion by 2020, according to a Nielsen report in 2014. Asia-Pacific, corresponding to rising demand from developing countries, is notably poised to record double the global growth rate during the period.

Today, snacks are readily available in almost every locale of our daily routines. Be it supermarkets, convenience stores or even roadside newsstands, consumers are able to find a wide array of convenient snacks to tantalise their taste buds with. In the face of this competitive landscape, it is now more critical than ever for snack manufacturers to innovate and differentiate their products.


Texture Is The Key Differentiator In Foods


When questioned if our food is palatable, taste and smell flash across our mind. This is instinctive because taste and smell are both senses that react to chemicals in our food, thereafter communicating information to our brains—where our memories are stored.

However, be it dining on a main course or munching on a snack, consumers want truly compelling sensory experiences—the kind that is all encompassing and satisfying that they inspire emotional connections to the brands that deliver them. Despite its ability to affect how flavour is released in foods and beverages, texture is often not utilised as a key driver of such holistic sensory experience.


The Role Of Texture In A Consumer’s Eating Experience


From food packaging to mouthfeel, each stage of the texture experience affects the overall consumer perception of a product. Even slight changes in texture can play a part in how consumers perceive a food’s satiety, demonstrating its key role in overall sensory perception.


Leveraging On The Texture Opportunity Gap


While food manufacturers appear to increasingly appreciate the importance of food textures, corroborated by rising texture claims on product packages, many remain confused or unaware of the exact type of mouthfeel their consumers desire. As a result, they are not able to create the signature snack to optimally capture their targeted consumers’ interest.

Asia Pacific is witnessing a notable growth in its middle class segment. The increase in mouths to feed and more money to spend on food projects an increase in the demand for snacks, reports Nielsen.

For snack manufacturers to optimally capitalise on the growing demand for snacks, it is imperative they understand the variety of food textures and what consumers in their target market prefer. Equipped with knowledge of consumer sensory preferences and right texturisers, snack manufacturers will be able to capture their target consumers’ attention by strategically labelling their products with front of pack claims, and eventually winning their consumers’ loyalty when their products match or exceed consumers’ expectations according to the claims.


Shortest Path To Your Perfect Signature Texture


For nearly two decades, our sensory experts at Ingredion Idea Labs™ innovation centres have been successfully working with snack manufacturers to perfect their products. During this time, Ingredion has developed a wide range of texturisers aimed to help snack manufacturers develop the signature texture tailored to their consumers’ evolving preferences. Keeping ourselves abreast of latest trends, we always remain at the forefront at solving latest texture challenges faced by our customers.

Ingredion relies on its deep understanding in sensory experiences and its unique texture language to create an integrated approach to translate consumer texture terms into precise, measurable terms to help manufacturers define and refine their signature texture according to consumer preferences. This rapid, robust and data-driven process represents the shortest path to the perfect texture—translating to faster time to market and more successful products.

Anticipating the needs of the industry, we launched four additions to our Precisa™ Crisp line of texturisers for the Asia Pacific snack industry. The new series of Precisa Crisp texturisers allow snack manufacturers to flexibly customise the texture of their baked snacks, from ‘soft’ and ‘snapping’ to ‘hard’ and ‘shattering’. As such, their differentiated functionalities can be used on a wide variety of snacks like potato chips, crackers and biscuits.

Aside from the ability to create differentiated and tasty snacks, our texturisers can also improve production efficiency and product quality. For instance, the aforementioned Precisa Crisp texturisers are able to reduce product breakages as well as improve dough cohesiveness and sheetability, resulting in improved manufacturing efficiency with easier dough handling. This multifunction brings about cost savings to snack manufacturers and enables them to focus their efforts on other vital aspects of the production, such as baking and packaging.


Embark On Your Snack Revolution Today


In response to the growing snack market, snack manufacturers need to delicately plan their strategies to ensure their products stand out among others and capture consumers’ attention.

To that end, Ingredion is able to work with snack manufacturers to build consumer insights and offer a wide range of texturisers that will be able to create and improve their products—without the hassle of major reformulation. Our integrated solutions will provide them with options to address today’s demand, process and label requirements, as well as tomorrow’s trends.

Going forward, we will continue to innovate and ensure we offer the highest quality texturisers, so that our customers stay equipped to meet the diverse and ever-changing desires of consumers.