KANSAS CITY — Many baking manufacturers are targeting new snacking occasions with the addition of more health-conscious items to product portfolios alongside novelty limited-time offerings.

Kellogg Co. expanded its Special K cereal line with the launch of three new varieties that target three different consumer blocs: those seeking low carbs, those seeking high protein and those seeking an anytime granola snack. On the LTO front, General Mills partnered with foodservice breakfast chain IHOP to launch IHOP Mini Pancake Cereal – Blueberry & Syrup. Post Consumer Holdings is bringing cereal into the bedtime routine with its launch of Sweet Dreams fortified cereal. Post’s newest LTOs include a partnership with Disney for the media company’s 100th anniversary and a partnership with toy brand Hot Wheels.

Some snack and cereal brands are setting their sights on granola with the intention of expanding brand reach to appeal to a wider set of consumers. Mars, Inc. subsidiary Kind LLC, for example, has debuted two soft granola varieties, breaking from its existing portfolio of all crunchy granolas. Kellogg Co. baked snacks brand RXBAR, which until now has only produced clean label bars, is debuting its first line of granola in three flavors including original, peanut butter and chocolate.  

On the sweet treats front, the same trends can be observed — with brands expanding health-conscious options while also exploring novelty partnerships for LTOs.

Low-sugar baked snacks brand HighKey added a sugar-free sandwich cookie featuring two crispy chocolate wafers around a layer of vanilla crème to its portfolio. Gluten-free cookie company REAL Cookies debuted Cookie Poppers, mini snack versions of the company’s full-size cookies, and Tate’s Bake Shop added a crispy lemon cookie to its gluten-free product line. Baked snacks startup Book Bakery launched a gluten-free oatmeal cranberry cookie, the company’s first direct-to-consumer product, and Mondelez International’s Oreo brand added a gluten-free mint chocolate sandwich cookie to its permanent portfolio.

As seen with the cereal LTO’s, companies are seeking new ways to expand snacking occasions via unique partnerships. General Mills, Inc. is featuring a mashup of its Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and Bugles savory snack with the launch of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bugles. SNAX-Sational Brands, a producer of flavored popcorn snacks, is partnering with Post Consumer Brands to launch Cereal Pop popcorn made with Fruity Pebbles.

Overall, it appears consumer interest in baked snacksreflects a more health-conscious populouswhose needs are evolving as snacksgain a stronger holdin daily eating habits.