A new study from Mintel shows, how internationally inspired frozen snacks appeal to the US iGens and Millennials, and how manufacturers can utilize creative formats to keep them engaged by giving them the opportunity to sample new cuisines.
Mintel research finds, that consumers are more comfortable trying new flavors when they are in foods that are similar to something they have tried before. This means that frozen snacks could provide a safe base for sampling international flavors, especially for flavor-engaged iGens and Millennials. Today’s consumers are exposed to global flavors through travel, restaurants and the internet, but when it comes to trying new cuisines, many consumers look for something they already understand to help ground the experience.
Innovating new concepts
Frozen snacks could help make international flavors more approachable. For consumers, these products are a low risk purchase, as they offer a comfortable and familiar format. A large percentage of US consumers eat branded frozen snacks, such as Hot Pockets, pizza rolls and similar bite-size heat-and-eat snacks, which offers an opportunity to introduce what might otherwise be a niche concept to a mainstream audience. The opportunity is even more pronounced among younger consumers: fully three-quarters of 18-34s in the US say they ate some type of frozen snack in the twelve months preceding March 2018. Additionally, these younger consumers say they are eating frozen snacks more often this year than last, and they are more interested than their older counterparts in international flavors. For frozen snack-makers, internationally inspired concepts hold potential to keep these consumers engaged with the category more often and boost sales in a US market that is forecast to grow less than 1% a year for the next five years.
Give consumers the courage to try the unfamiliar
Consumers may not be familiar with snacks eaten around the world and creative naming and storytelling can make these foods feel both authentic and approachable. In the UK, for example, 59% of consumers who have eaten world cuisine say they are more likely to try a new world food if it is similar to one they have had before.
Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, Global Food Analyst comments: “Combining familiar terminology with the history and tradition of a dish – as highlighted by Mintel’s Based on a True Story Trend – could pique consumers’ curiosity and encourage them to try something new. Very Good’s pelmeni product does a nice job finding middle ground. The brand uses both the official term “pelmeni” as well as a clear description of what the product is – “Russian dumplings” – and discusses a detailed history of the product on pack. This approach can help consumers discover something new while grounding the experience by adding a sense of the familiar. Dumplings are a familiar frozen snack that can serve as a starting point for global exploration, particularly Asian and Eastern European flavors. Developers might, for example, take inspiration from dim sum, wherein diners sample many small dishes, including dumplings like har gau and siu mai. Xiao long bao, meanwhile, releases hot broth when steamed, and these “soup dumplings” are expanding quickly in US foodservice. Outside of Asia, dumplings from Eastern Europe hold potential, including Polish pierogi, Russian pelmeni and Turkish manti, which can be steamed or fried for a bite-sized, filling snack.”