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Healthy Snacking

Fixed meal times are becoming less and less important worldwide. People no longer sit down together at the table three times a day at fixed times. You eat when you are hungry – no matter when or where. Mobile snacking is the contemporary solution for people on the move: packaged in portions, easy to eat with one hand and with a healthy image – that’s how muesli bars, protein shakes and smoothies compete for market share. But the creativity of the developers has long since reached its limits: Because instead of exciting innovations, there is always more of the same. Boredom is spreading. Where are the new healthy product concepts that inspire us?

“Chocolate is really a problem. I’m trying to be healthy right now, so I’ll eat carob chips, which are kind of like chocolate. But sometimes I’ll have a midnight snack, and I’ll wake up, and I’ll find chocolate in my bed.”

Claire Holt

The snack: the forgotten calorie

The schedule is tight, there is no time to go out to eat and cooking for yourself is out of the question. That’s why we have a quick snack for the small hunger in between. “Snack” somehow sounds so nice and small, light and not at all like a real meal – and that’s exactly the problem. English researchers have found out that snacking people tend to eat too much. Their explanation: Apparently, snacks are quickly forgotten and do not play any role in the daily calorie balance.

In Germany, it has now even been clarified under tax law that a snack does not replace a full meal. For a long time, business travellers had to declare every snack to the tax office – even the mini-bag with 10 gummi bears that was served with the drink on scheduled flights. Meals per diems in the travel expense report were reduced accordingly.

After clear protests, the Federal Ministry of Finance corrected its view and made it clear in a letter: “It is not only important […] that the employer provides the employee with something to eat, but also whether it is one of the meals mentioned in the law. …] Even the small bags of crisps, savoury biscuits, chocolate wafers, muesli bars or comparable other snacks served on domestic German flights or short-haul flights, for example, do not fulfil the criteria for a meal and therefore do not lead to a reduction in the flat-rate payments.

 

Snack drinks: How healthy are smoothies?

Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, is the common recommendation of nutrition experts. Not at all easy in our hectic everyday life. A smoothie – a pureed mix of fruits – seems to be just right: A small bottle can easily cover up to two portions of the daily ration, many manufacturers promise. Health “to go”, so to speak. Just the right thing for stressed office workers. But are smoothies really an equivalent substitute for fresh fruit?

 

Nutrients are lost

Unlike traditional fruit juices, smoothies contain the entire fruit except for the skin and seeds. Many nutrients, which in apples, for example, are located directly under the skin, are therefore not contained at all. Thus, important vitamins, fibre and minerals as well as secondary plant substances are lost in the first step. For the typical creamy consistency, the pureed fruit flesh is then usually mixed with juice. As a rule of thumb, the higher the juice content in the smoothie, the lower the content of dietary fibres and secondary plant substances.

 

Chewing is better than drinking

The liquid consistency itself is also a disadvantage: although smoothies are a small meal in terms of nutritional value and calories, we consume them like a drink. The satiation effect is thus significantly lower than with solid fruit, which first has to be chewed for a longer time and, due to its greater volume, fills the stomach better. Solid fruit therefore fills you up faster, better and longer than any smoothie with the same amount of calories. That’s why we should rather bite directly into an apple when we feel like eating fruit.

 

Health risk smoothie

Scientists of the renowned Boston “Harvard School of Public Health” have examined the effects of smoothies and fruit juices on health in a 24-year study with almost 190,000 participants. The result: The positive effects of the packaged fruit products are not only small, smoothies can even make you ill. People who eat fruit in liquid form increase their risk of developing diabetes mellitus. Grapes, apples, pears and blueberries, on the other hand, have a positive effect on the insulin balance – provided they are not drunk but eaten.

 

Is self-pressing the solution?

Packaged juices are therefore not as healthy as the food industry would have us believe. So is self-squeezing the solution? Nutrition experts take a critical view of this: if you squeeze your fruit yourself, you also destroy valuable minerals and vitamins that are under the skin. In the end, the glass is filled with water and a lot of fruit sugar, which quickly enters the bloodstream via the intestines and raises the blood sugar level. A good point of reference is the question of how much of the fruit you want to squeeze out you could eat. Because that would be the amount of fructose that our body can absorb.

 

Typology of the snack user

The market research institute infratest examined the German snack market and the motivations of its customers. First of all, it was filtered out that the majority of those surveyed regard a snack as a small quick snack between meals, and occasionally as a meal replacement. Whether sweet or savory, snacks are associated with characteristics such as easy and uncomplicated consumption or independence from time and space. The respondents prefer to snack in the afternoon and evening, and expect this to provide emotional added value. Among other things, it is about rewarding oneself, passing the time, staying in certain situations or even initiating contacts.

The snack market is extremely complex and clear segmentation has proved to be very difficult. The typical snacker does not exist. One and the same person will react differently to the same snack offer in different situations for various reasons. Nevertheless, market researchers have identified 6 basic patterns that can be clearly distinguished from each other.

  1. the ultimate kick
  • – Main motives: to recharge energy to be physically and mentally fit, to shape one’s career or generally to achieve personal goals
  • – Associated product experiences: crisp, with bite, fresh and fruity, rather strong
  • – Snacking occasions: honest appetite, immediate orientation, also replacement of a main meal
  • – Typical products: Salads, fruit bars, vitamin bars, dried fruit. Healthy products: balanced, but without sacrificing taste
  • – Corresponding worlds of experience: more outdoor-oriented, sports or professional performance sector
  1. fun, games, excitement
  • – Main motives: Fun and conviviality among friends, cheating the everyday life, enjoying light-hearted
  • – Product experiences: carefree jumbled eating without regard to calories, everything that is hearty and crispy, sweet or salty
  • – Snacking occasions: from “really hungry” to “just want to eat”
  • – Typical products: Gummy bears, chocolate bars, trail mix, everything you can share
  • – Experience worlds: leisure and fun-oriented. Values such as tolerance and camaraderie play a major role.
  1. feet up and switch off
  • – Main motives: escape from everyday life, take a break, reflect on yourself
  • – Product experiences: soft, more sucking than chewing, cute, really nice and sweet
  • – Snacking occasions: small moments of pampering to comfort or relax. Typical behaviour is the grip in the bag or drawer. Storage of the favourite snack plays a major role.
  • – Typical products: filled chocolates, biscuits, waffles, pudding
  • – worlds of experience: Cocooning, more indoor-oriented. Values such as trust and harmony are positive.
  1. empty stomach does not like to study
  • – Main motives: fast satiety, blocking hunger
  • – Snacking occasions: ravenous appetite, often meal replacement
  • – Product experiences: “hot and greasy”, something substantial, not choosy, the next best thing, the main thing is practical and fast, eat out of your hand
  • – Typical products: Bratwurst, hot dog, French fries with mayonnaise, more savory than sweet.
  • – Worlds of experience: rather sober, keeping your head up in everyday life, in harmony with yourself.
  1. everything under control
  • – Main motives: disciplined eating, supplying the body with only the bare essentials, renunciation, no gluttony
  • – Snacking occasions: clearly marked sections in a structured daily routine
  • – Product experience: light, airy, small pieces, clean, do not get your hands dirty
  • – Typical products: calorie-reduced delicatessen products, soups, rice crackers or soya products
  • – Worlds of experience: determined by the principles of clarity and planning, taking place more within one’s own four walls
  1. the little bit of extravagance
  • – Main motives: Spoiling and rewarding with demonstrative character, preferably in select company
  • – Snacking occasions: small parties, receptions, business meetings
  • – Product experiences: noble, fine, with knife and fork, nicely arranged, the eye eats with
  • – Typical products: delicacies, chocolates, in-products like lobster, crustaceans, sushi
  • – worlds of experience: characterised by the staging of one’s own wealth, style and quality

 

The snack of the future

After all the negative assessments of solid and liquid snacks, the question remains: Is it even possible to develop tasty snacks that not only satisfy the need for a satisfying snack, but also have a healthy nutrient profile?

One thing is certain: people will continue to snack in the future. And the demands are high: taste, convenience and healthy nutrition are the ingredients needed for the snack of the future. But can all three requirements be combined in one product?

Our solution:

work in progress…

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