New avenues for healthy snack development?

Snack innovators, at home and abroad, are starting to go beyond the traditional realms of health and nutrition.

16 December 2019
biscuitsfunctional foodnutritionsnackingtechnology

Health/wellness is a pretty hot topic across the food industry these days with the growing popularity of both gut health and free-from just two examples of how consumers are considering their bodies more.

According to a survey conducted last year by the multinational professional services network KPMG, nearly two-thirds of British consumers say they care more about how healthy their food and drinks are compared to five years ago. Retail and foodservice have both taken the hint with the advent of the plant-based boom providing even more avenues for NPD and innovation.

Snacking, for example, has transformed over the past 12 months or so, with sports nutrition and mental health two successful spinoffs of late. We’ve also seen snacking innovations with dairy, snacking bottled for convenience and the rise of permissible indulgence between meals.

It’s a category rife with experimentation. And, with competition in many snack sub-categories growing, two companies have caught the eye with their unusual focus on helping consumers stave off some of life’s most stressful physical effects.

Sobering snack

SoBar, which was launched this month by US company Zero Functional Foods, is a snack bar that claims to block alcohol absorption by as much as 50%.

The patent-pending science behind the innovation – Alco-Hold – is said to enhance alcohol inactivation through decreasing the stomach’s emptying rate. Basically, the quicker the stomach empties, the faster alcohol is absorbed, with enzymes in the stomach lining key to the process.

Made up of a blend of milk protein and insoluble oat fibre, Alco-Hold was recently the subject of a clinical trial, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, that found SoBar could reduce alcohol absorption more effectively after two alcoholic drinks compared to no food, 210 calories of snack mix and even a full meal of 635 calories.   

The idea for SoBar came from Zero Functional Foods founder Joseph Fisher after having too much alcohol on an empty stomach.

“After that, I thought that there was a huge need for a specialised, low-calorie snack that could efficiently and effectively reduce alcohol absorption,” said Fisher.

The new bar launches first in North America, with plans to expand across Asia, Australia and the EU.

Rocking the boat

Meanwhile, Queezibics – an Exeter-based company – has received funding from HSBC UK to further develop marketing and exposure of their ginger biscuits range that claims to help prevent and provide relief from the effects of travel sickness and morning sickness.

The line of biscuits, which were developed following comprehensive research in medical centres in the US and Australia, are suitable for both adults and children, with the latter being an avenue of real interest across the food industry of late.

Queezibics, which are available from the likes of Waitrose and Amazon, claim that their biscuit, which has 1000mg of ginger, is ten times more effective than a normal version of the biscuit, with ginger a traditional remedy for motion sickness.

While perhaps not quite as technologically ground-breaking as SoBar, Queezibics have seemingly struck a chord within the healthy eating arena, considering the investment received, with both products examples of new health and wellness focused opportunities in functional and accessible foods across snacking and, potentially, the wider retail market.

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