The pandemic has not curbed consumers’ appetites for eating healthy, but it has impacted their attitudes in several ways. According to an Innova Market Insights survey conducted last fall, 35% of American consumers report their concern about weight management has increased over the last year.

“Growing concern over weight-related issues could drive interest in bars oriented toward the Keto opportunity, as well as bars targeting intermittent fasting, which has the potential to be a major trend,” Tom Vierhile, vice president strategic insights, North America, Innova Market Insights, told Baking & Snack for its March report on snack bar and nutrition bar trends.

People today are more mindful of what they eat. They understand the importance of fueling a healthy body with foods comprised of wholesome ingredients, but they do not want to sacrifice taste for nutrition. Likewise, amid the pandemic, interest in health and immunity has heightened, creating opportunities for bar producers.

Food categories like bars, seen as a source of functional benefits, may be particularly suitable for ingredients seen as conferring immunity. In fact, the Innova survey showed that 30% of Americans are concerned about immune health. Another trend involves indulgence as it relates to how foods may provide comfort or lift people’s moods.

The Innova consumer survey revealed that 31% of Americans report increased levels of concern over mental health, indicating that snack and nutrition bars with ingredients associated with mental wellness could resonate, Mr. Vierhile observed.

As spring and summer approach and more people are vaccinated, bakers need to be on the lookout as consumer trends and attitudes shift again as the nation’s restaurants, gyms and schools reopen.