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Healthy Living: Focus on Snacks in Asia Pacific

March 2019

Snacking is rapidly evolving in Asia Pacific - so much so that the region is no longer a follower, having surpassed both Western Europe and North America in 2016 and 2017, respectively, in retail value sales of snacks in the world. In line with consumers’ changing perceptions of health, snacking trends across Asia Pacific are increasingly incorporating various health themes. Localised innovation and disruptor brands lead the shift, welcoming an expanding base of consumers across the region.

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Health trends can help drive the Asia Pacific snacks market to new heights

Despite its new position as the largest region for snacks, per capita sales in Asia Pacific remain low. This indicates tremendous future potential. Health-focused innovation that caters to the growing healthy living trends in the region offers a clear path for realising this potential.

Healthy snacks are evolving on three broad frontiers

Healthy innovations in snacks have largely aligned with three key health trends in Asia: Mindful Indulgence; Back to Basics; and Functional Fuel.

Mindful Indulgence: The need for snacks to balance taste and nutritional content

Snacks that have not removed or added ingredients to their intended formulation remain in demand. Substituting ingredients with naturally-healthy alternatives, such as grains, potato substitutes, and inherently nutritious food such as fruits and nuts, appeal to various perceptions of health.

Back to Basics: Using herbal or natural ingredients to improve nutrition or add functional benefits to snacks

Asian consumers are looking for minimally processed snacks that can meet demands for health. As a result, manufacturers are going back to herbal ingredients or are tweaking basic formulations to offer functional benefits (ie healing or satiety) or to naturally reduce fat, sugar or calorie content.

Functional Fuel: The growing importance of fortified snacks for key demographic groups

Fortified/functional snacks have seen rising demand in Asia. Consumers in the region, especially fitness enthusiasts and seniors, are increasingly considering these snacks as tools in achieving their health goals.

Snack trends in Asia can offer important learnings for the rest of the world

Local manufacturers in Asia Pacific countries are expected to lead the next frontier of innovation within the global snacks market. As other markets deal with similar trends in healthy living, the innovative approach of Asian manufacturers can provide both inspiration and a template for growth.


Key findings
Asia Pacific is hailed as the new leader in snacks
Health-focused innovation can help Asia reach its huge potential

Healthy Living

Overall movement towards healthy living shaped by five drivers
Asia Pacific increasingly values health and wellness in packaged food
Healthy living is a growing, albeit subjective, aspiration in snacks
Leaders of healthy snacks reshuffle as Chinese firms emerge
Active product development seen in many categories
Naturally healthy snacks lead the expansion
Snacks in Asia Pacific broadly align with three key health trends

Mindful Indulgence

Mindful indulgence: Healthier snacking without sacrifice
Three key strategies undertaken to satisfy guilt-free cravings
Grain revolution: “Stealth reduction” blows up in snacks
Balancing novelty and health when re-imagining junk food
Vegetable and root chips: Feel good, look good
Naturally healthy: new entrants disrupt traditional categories
Snack bars target health-conscious, time-starved Asian millennials

Back to Basics

Back to basics: Focus on simple, natural additives for utmost effect
Three key strategies to get back to basics
Herbal and traditional ingredients appeal for their healing functions
Basil seeds replace artificial ingredients used for weight control
The main target consumers for confectionery shifts from children
Konjac the new star ingredient in confectionery for guilt-free snacking
Health and wellness ice cream invigorates Asia Pacific
Fibre and allulose offer growth potential by cutting sugar and fat

Functional Fuel

Functional fuel: Asia Pacific sees the fastest growth
Three key driving forces for functional snacks in Asia Pacific
Growing interest in protein is pushed by fitness trends
Applications of protein in snacks are diversifying
As the plant-based wave takes root, meat snacks re-position
Low-carb: Fitness enthusiasts drive demand for flour substitutes
Seniors as strong supporters for functional snacks
Fortified jellies expand thanks to support from busy consumers
Probiotics expands applications to snacks for portability


Wider variety of healthy snacks to serve expanding consumer base


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