Article Courtesy of Ana Maria Abella, Marketing Director, Alimentos Naranja Verde LLC.
In the minds of consumers, food is becoming a tool to find wellness and quality of life in the future rather than a means to meet immediate nutritional needs as a basic necessity for survival. Shoppers are increasingly choosing products with zero sugars, less sodium, 100% natural, gluten-free, vegan, or organic. Consequently, we now find another hyper-healthy product on the shelves: dehydrated fruits and vegetables.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of having a healthier diet as a source to prevent diseases, lose weight, increase energy, or improve some ailments that, in some cases, can replace traditional medicines without ignoring their benefits.
In recent decades, food has gone through all levels of Maslow’s pyramid. Levels 4, Recognition, and 5, Self-realization, are now conceived as follows: “you are what you eat” and “food is a tool that makes us aware of taking care of our body and spirit to have a more satisfying life.”
This means that the new food trends are based on the awareness of a consumer more committed to developing healthy habits and achieving a better version of themselves.
Manufacturers, in a very creative way, have transformed dehydrated fruits and vegetables into healthy snacks, which are offered in slices or chunks, as well as in fruit bars, the result of their mixture with ancestral seeds, which come in very eye-catching packaging.
In recent years, these manufacturers have had to invest in technology and R&D processes, seeking to get closer to the snack consumer market in the United States, which reached $44.9 billion in sales during the first nine months of 2022. Lifestyle changes and the result of time constraints in meal preparation drive the increase in sales.
Including dehydrated fruit or vegetable snacks in the U.S. consumer’s diet is driven by a taste for fast food, as well as their new awareness of eating better, coupled with the benefits of dehydrated foods that retain nearly 90% of their fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Consumer appreciation of dehydrated products and snacks has been positive. However, it takes time to change the consumption habits of those who love the sensoriality of chips or popcorn while watching TV or going to the movies.
Undoubtedly, the consumption of dehydrated foods, specifically in the snack category, continues to increase, representing an opportunity for producers to develop products and brands to offer in this market and millions of people who can explore new alternatives of light, nutritious and health-friendly foods.