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Growing demand for snack food

Consumer Corner looks at the value-added potential for the snack food industry in Alberta.
‘COVID-19 brought radical changes to consumers’ everyday lives and many of the newly adopted behaviours may be here to stay,’ explains Jeewani Fernando, provincial consumer market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
‘Many value-added food products, including snack food, have emerged as a response to these changing consumer demands.’
She says snack foods are well-positioned as value-added products with potential to address many of the changing consumer needs and wants. But she says businesses must be increasingly customer-oriented if they want to stay competitive and grow in this area.
‘The value-added food sector offers opportunities for Alberta agri-food processors to innovate and develop new products to meet emerging consumer trends such as more healthy food options with flavour, transparency and safety, sustainability and convenience food options such as meal kits and takeaway food.’
Snack food manufacturing sales, import data and retail sales data provide evidence there is high consumer demand for snack foods. Alberta grocery sales data shows that snack food sales totalled around $750 million in 2018 resulting in about a 4% increase over 2017. Alberta grocery sales data and made-in-Alberta/local food sales data for the snack food category are useful tools to show how each sub-category performs in sales and what percentage of Alberta made/local represents each sub-category.
‘The bottom line,’ says Fernando, ‘is that emerging consumer demand and sales trend data for the snack food sub-categories suggests considerable value-added potential in the snack food sector for Alberta agri-food producers and processors.’
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