Mar 7, 2016

Food makers see the snack in everything

Hidden treasure. Step-by-Step. The delicious, colourful 
layered cake with a hidden sweet centre. [Photo/IC]

There are no meals anymore, only snacks.

As around-the-clock grazing upends the way people eat, companies are reimagining foods that aren't normally seen as snacks to elbow in on the trend. That means everything including grilled chicken, cereal, chocolate, peanut butter and even Spam are now being marketed as snacks.

Some are trying to jump into the party by playing up protein. Meat processing giant Tyson launched Hillshire Snacking this year with packs of cut-up chicken that people are supposed to grab and eat with their hands (120 calories per pack). Canned meat maker Hormel is testing "Spam Snacks," which are dried chunks of the famous meat in re-sealable bags (220 calories per bag).

People with a sweet tooth aren't being forgotten. After years of slumping cereal sales, Kellogg recently introduced Kellogg's To Go pouches, which hold slightly larger pieces of cereal the company says were "specifically created to be eaten by hand" (190 calories per pouch, which is comparable in size to a bag of potato chips).

Even Hershey is trying to become more of a snacks player with "snack mixes" that seem like trail mix, except with Reese's peanut butter cups and mini chocolate bars (280 calories per package).

"People are snacking more and more, sometimes instead of meals, sometimes with meals, and sometimes in between meals," says Marcel Nahm, who heads North American snacks for Hershey.

He says Hershey's research shows some people snack "10 times a day".