Global consumer demand for healthy snacks -- including gluten-free, organic, clean labels, whole grains, reduced calories, and omega-3 and vitamin- and mineral-fortified products -- reflected in new product launches in 2011, according to new market data

THE NETHERLANDS , March 29, 2012 (press release) – Despite ongoing economic difficulties, new product activity in the global snack foods industry appears to be continuing unabated. Launch numbers recorded by Innova Market Insights showed a strong double-digit increase in 2011. Savory and salty snacks accounted for just under two-thirds of the total, and snack nuts and seeds the remainder.

Asia and Latin American saw the biggest increases in snacks launch numbers over the year, with high levels in these relatively underdeveloped regions disguising lower levels of growth in more mature markets, particularly the US, but also parts of Western Europe. Launches in Asia accounted for nearly 40% of total snacks introductions, ahead of Europe with just under 30%. Within Europe, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands had some of the highest levels of product activity, reflecting relatively high per capita consumption levels in these countries.

Lu Ann Williams, Research Manager at Innova Market Insights feels that despite the increasing competition from other snacks, savoury snacks and nuts are more than holding their own, largely via growing emphasis on authenticity, originality, strong and exotic flavors and more convenient packaging concepts, often supported by a healthy or natural angle and strong branding.

Overall, despite the often fairly low level of interest in health in purchasing decisions for impulse products such as snacks, nearly 40% of launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in 2011 had a health positioning of some kind, mainly with regard to passive benefits, such as wholegrain, organic, gluten-free or low and light, but also to a much lesser degree active benefits, such as vitamin- and mineral-fortification, levels of omega 3 fatty acids or bone health. This rises to over 60% in the US.

The rise of gluten-free products has also been fairly dramatic, with nearly 10% of global snacks launches using that platform in 2011, rising to over 20% in the US, with the number of gluten-free launches

Contact: Lu Ann Williams Tel: +31 26 319 2000

internationally trebling over a five-year period.

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