Snaxpo 2018 Insights: the top 5 snack trends in North America

Snaxpo 2018 brought over a thousand snack and packaging professionals from North America and the rest of the world to Atlanta, Georgia, to learn about the latest trends, share insights and to find the best solutions in the industry.

The trade show couldn’t have come at a better time as the market for convenient snack foods continues to grow rapidly this year, particularly in the U.S. Here, the market for individual snacking has already reached around $33 billion and will continue to grow: busy, on-the-go lifestyles have taken over and almost every household has bought packaged snacks at least once in the past year.

Many North American manufacturers are therefore asking how they can best satisfy this increased appetite for chips, nuts and other small bites. We observed five key trends at Snaxpo 2018 that will help snack producers understand and address market needs.

1) Have your snack and eat it too: indulgent treats without compromising on health

Americans tend to snack as a way of treating themselves. However, in recent years they have become increasingly aware of the implications of snacking as part of a healthier, balanced diet, and are looking for a bit of indulgence but with less guilt. Grains, nuts, pulses, vegetable chips or meat snacks are an alternative to traditional savory snacks such as potato chips, and the appeal of reduced calories or health benefits delivered by certain snacks, especially in combination with interesting flavors, will attract consumers looking to branch out. Nuts and seeds, as well as dried fruit, are a prime example of this trend: unsalted peanuts, almonds and cashew nuts are often mixed with interesting spices (think wasabi) and dried fruit such as raisins or even banana chips have been profiting from the healthy eating trend.

2) Artisan snacks and start-up companies: plenty of opportunities

From hand-cooked potato or vegetable chips to superfood nut and grain mixes or meat snacks, artisan snacks are one of the categories consumers have recently grown to love. This is a massive opportunity that many nascent companies have recognized, leading to many new entrants to the market and increased competition. High-growth companies especially are often in need of an established, experienced partner such as Bosch Packaging Technology, who can help them successfully navigate through the complex world of packaging.

3) Pack size matters: convenience and speed are crucial

Consumers are now being presented with more snack options than ever before and have started consuming these products more frequently as they have become more convenient. The increased demand for convenience means that smaller bags are being used for single-serve portions that are ideal for an on-the-go lifestyle. For producers who pack their products in these smaller bags, vertical form, fill and seal machines are usually the best solution. When choosing packaging machines, producers should consider that a small footprint per machine will help maximize the use of their production space. When packing snacks in smaller bags, more machines are required to pack the same amount of product in the same time, compared to larger bags.

4) Higher expectations: creating a great snacking experience from start to finish

As consumers expect more from their snacks, producers need to expect more from their packaging. High quality bags don’t just stand out on retail shelves, they also improve the post-sale snacking experience. Brands can drive home the superior quality and value of their product by choosing high quality pack styles with a great look and feel. Many snack innovations now use stand-up Doy Zip bags, for example. which don’t just (literally) stand out on shelves and have a premium look that boosts brand appeal, but also keep the product fresh thanks to a unique zipper that allows the bag to be reclosed on the go. At the same time, the machine offers snack producers a lot of flexibility and high speed (up to 100 Doy Zip bags a minute) on a footprint that’s three times smaller than horizontal lines. (Learn more about this solution at

5) Fit for the future: high hygiene won’t be optional

Staying on the topic of packaging machines, OEMs have noticed an increased demand for higher sanitation levels in the packaging area. On the machinery side, there is a definite trend towards stainless steel baggers. While these aren’t the standard offering yet, these are an option that is already in great demand. Producers need to keep in mind that food safety standards have been tightened over the last couple of years and will likely continue to do so. When investing in new snack packaging equipment, producers should future-proof their production by choosing a simple, versatile design that’s easy to clean. One way to ensure this is a stainless steel frame that is designed with high hygiene requirements in mind, such as Bosch’s SVC range (which you can explore here ). As the snacks category continues to grow, snack producers need to start looking to the future today.

And that’s it for our Snaxpo 2018 insights. If you attended the show and have any thoughts on what we’ve shared, please do send an email ( or leave a comment on our LinkedIn page solutions4value here.