The concept of snacking is familiar to every individual, and as humans we are constantly craving for snacks. By definition a snack- is something which is smaller in portion as compared to our meals; they are designed and processed to be- portable, high shelf-life, durable and usually cost lesser than perishable commodities like vegetables, meat, fruits, etc.
Need for healthy snacks
Having snacks between meals reduces the urge to overeat major meals, additionally snacking nutritious nibbles provides necessary vitamins, minerals to fulfil our body needs for nutrients. Hence it is essential to snack healthy food, to reduce the risk of dreadful lifestyle diseases and syndromes- Diabetes, Obesity, Atherosclerosis. In the last decade the dependence on fast food has gradually increased and this can be attributed to the shift in lifestyle and working hours, as people are getting busier they tend to neglect their food habits. Due to busy work schedule individuals avoid cooking meals at home, and tend to depend upon on-the-go food services and consume foods- burgers, pizza, sandwiches, hamburger, cakes, soft-drinks, fried commodities, and so on.
It is necessary for people curb upon the consumption of unhealthy snacks, and focus on healthy snacksfor the following reasons-
- Necessary nutrients: Snacks like energy bars provide- proteins, vitamins and minerals
- Energy: Healthy snacks like dried fruits, granola bars provide instant energy and help to regulate blood sugars levels.
- Appetite control: Prevents overeating during big meals, satisfies hunger and controls food cravings.
At the same time it is necessary to choose snacks which provide micro and macronutrients necessary for bodily functions, and control the consumption of snacks.
Reasons for choosing healthy ingredients for snacks
Back in 1990’s the food processing units focused upon the production of fried products like French fries, chicken fries, pizza’s and other junk food. However, in last decade the trend in the food industry is changing by dynamically accepting the unexplored ingredients like Chia seeds, Flax seeds and others (Table 2)by incorporating them to prepare snacks. Additionally consumers are driven by the motto of healthy living touted by the well-known nutritionists for choosing healthy a lifestyle, and accepting the changes in their diet. People are now broadening their concept of snacking beyond biscuits and chips. The growing awareness amongst the consumers has attributed to shift in trends of the industry. The report by Food Packaging Trends and Advances Report states that as compared to other categories in food packaging, the snack food market is expected to grow at a faster rate which is driven by more convenience options.
While walking around the departmental stores the snacks are placed at the eye-level racks with attractive packaging, it makes the consumer curious to pick the package and look through; also the advertisement campaigns, word of mouth plays a huge role in manoeuvring consumers to purchase a product. Snacks are preferred items by customers as they are portable and easy to carry and merchandise. Consumers are opting for baked and roasted veggie chips, seed supplements instead of fried potato chips and whey protein drinks and energy drinks as substitute for soft drinks and soda at the counters. For example in the air catering industry, they provide passengers with small meals like egg and meat or salads with dips, dehydrated vegetables and fruits along with an energy drink or hot beverage. These meal options are easy for handling and serving.
The surge to lead a nutritious livelihood drives people to consume mid-meal snacks like extruded products made from Chia seeds, Millets, Pumpkin seeds, Soya nuts, and so on. Likewise the people opt for Quinoa, Oats, Bran and other cereal based products for breakfast; the cafés offering all-day breakfast opt for such ingredients for serving customers, and providing healthy beverages like smoothies, protein shakes to satisfy the needs of health conscious ones.Several restaurants have started present grilled, roasted dishes to the customers and allow customers to design customized meals with the healthy ingredients to set their platter right.
Snacks are quintessential part of an individual’s diet, they act as fillers to fill in the gaps between meals- helps to concentrate, reduce cravings, and maintain blood sugar levels. It is necessary for the stake holders in the market to increase the awareness to consume healthy snacks and avoid crunching on empty calorie foods, as it is attributed to the alcoholic liver disease. The food hospitality services are a consumer driven sector, as consumers determined to choose healthy ingredients- the hospitality industry is adapting the new trend by offering healthy foods at restaurants, take-away counters, departmental stores, hotels, airlines, mid-day meal programmes, movie theatres, hospitals, and offices. There are many mystical food components are currently under research to explore the health benefits of the same.
1. Drexel University. “When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier.
Nov 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171116132135.htm>.
Authors: Debomitra Dey* (Graduate student, SRM University Chennai), Anomitra Dey (PhD scholar, ICT (Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org