Kind disclosed the added-sugar content of its snacks before the FDA’s Nutrition Facts Labeling deadline.

The holistic approach

Many Americans are turning away from strict diets in favor of a well-balanced approach. According to Mintel, 91% of Americans believe it is better to eat a well-rounded diet than to use diet products. This method allows them to enjoy a variety of products and focus on functional benefits.

In the report “Better-for-You Eating Trends Spotlight, US September 2016,” Mintel shows consumers are interested in protein, fiber and whole grains, with more than half of them seeking at least one of the attributes when purchasing foods they consider healthy. It also noted that health-conscious shoppers are actively avoiding products with elements described as “artificial” altogether.

Bakers and snack manufacturers are responding to this call for wellness in a variety of ways. Some are revamping whole lines of products and removing ingredients while others are trying to incorporate more nutrients and vitamins.

For example, General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, focuses on cleaning up ingredient labels as well as adding healthier attributes to products.

“Consumer expectations for food companies have never been higher,” said Kendall Powell, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills, Inc., in an April 2017 letter to stakeholders. “Consumers are increasingly looking for food that reflects their values, from a company they trust. We have responded by expanding our offerings, introducing new benefits and increasing transparency. We are growing our natural and organic business, removing artificial colors and flavors from many of our products and introducing new tools that provide consumers easy access to information about the food we make.”

Mondelez International, Deerfield, Ill., also plans to heighten the healthfulness of its products. The company recently debuted a new portfolio of products under its Véa brand as a part of its goal to be a global leader in well-being snacks. Available in three formats, including seed crackers, crisps and mini crunch bars, the snacks are designed to drive growth in the savory cracker segment and developed for the well-being-focused millennial.

In its “2016 Impact for Growth Progress Report,” the snacking company highlighted how it met many of its goals ahead of schedule. The report revealed that 26% of its revenue came from its Better Choice options, and its portion-control options have grown by 39%. It also increased its use of whole grains by 25%.

“Well-being is a significant growth opportunity for us, both in developed and emerging markets,” said Tim Cofer, chief growth officer, Mondelez. “In fact, 2017 will be our biggest year ever in the well-being space with unprecedented innovation and renovation of our portfolio.”

As snack manufacturers continue to adapt to this changing landscape, they can simultaneously encourage consumers to make healthier decisions and position their brands as having consumers’ best interest at heart. Elizabeth Moskow, culinary director at Sterling-Rice Group, noted that this shift may also allow companies to make claims that focus on transparency of ingredients, quality and sourcing, rather than what isn’t in a product.