Snacking Snippets: Happen’s Top 5 most curious food innovation spots at the ISM Sweets & Snacking trade fare
This month, Happen attended ISM in Cologne – the world’s largest trade fare for sweets and snacks. With almost 38,000 trade visitors from over 140 countries, there was lots to see – so we set off to hunt down some new, curious and interesting food innovation trends:
1. EMOJIS EVERYWHERE
From “Sh*t Happens” gummy sweets (featuring the famous emoji poo in chewy, cola-flavoured form), to smiley-face cookies, chocolate coins and even croissants, emojis were everywhere. Perhaps in these troubled and uncertain times we want our snacking to offer some simple pleasures… and the ‘emoji’ is offering us a little light relief?
Are there some EPD / NPD opportunities for your portfolio that could tap into this trend, and deliver ‘simple pleasures’ to new consumers?
2. NOT-SO-SUBTLE SHARING
Bite-sized products have long helped deliver an extended snacking occasion, enabling consumers to make the most of the moment whilst minimising consumption guilt. We spotted a few nice examples of sharing formats where the ‘sharing’ element was working its way clearly into the proposition on pack. An easy and positive way to hint at permissibility perhaps, without compromising on deliciousness or resorting to less upbeat messages about control or calories? Take a peek at:
- Gastone Lago “Mini Party Wafers”, (because you’re definitely going to save them for that party at the weekend, and not scoff the lot with your colleagues at 3pm this afternoon)
- Royal Mixed Cookies, featuring a rather optimistic claim of “individually wrapped, one for me, two for you”…
- And Ragusa ‘For Friends’ caramel bites – hinting at the ultimate ‘permissible indulgence’ moment. Polish my halo, I’m buying these for my pals!
Could you combine format tweaks with on-pack messaging to subtly reduce consumption guilt and open up new occasions?
3. STEVIA POSITIVITY
Sugar is still the bad guy, but Stevia is making its way onto the front of pack in a positive reframing of sweetness (in some cases, even larger than the brand or product name). With its natural, plant-based connotations, Stevia seems to be fast becoming a consumer-facing benefit… rather than a functional fact to hide away in an ingredients list.
Whether you use stevia or not, are there any production or ingredient stories you could reframe in a positive way, creating new benefits?
4. MOOD LIFTERS
We all know snacking can help boost our mood, and goodness knows we need it sometimes! We spotted several uplifting food innovation products in the ‘innovation awards’ section at ISM who were bringing this promise into the consumer messaging. Take a look at these two new chocolate products, both claiming to boost your mood, but in very different ways:
- Heidi ‘Chocomoods’, smiley face chocolate bites – like the emojis, a simple smile to make you smile. In their words: “get into a good mood with Heidi Chocomoods – chocolate is always the best mood changer!”
- “Chicolate”, a more elaborate promise (“to help you find balance and happiness”), with a curious RTB! In their words, “in order to positively boost your chakras and help you feel great, we added drops of light frequencies… helping you to energize your inner self!” (Each of the 7 varieties has a different benefit – calmness, sensuality, inner strength, love, expression, intuition, and spirituality.)
How do you talk about the positive impact your products have on consumers? Even if you don’t have a ballsy ‘chakra management’ claim, could NPD help you play in this space?
5. PLAYFULLY UNEXPECTED
The ‘newcomer’ and ‘innovation awards’ zones featured a few charmingly unexpected food innovation products that brought a smile to our face. Rather than embracing the positive, these products took a little detour and ended up somewhere quite different… We spotted:
- Pechkek’s Misfortune Cookies – totally black fortune cookies containing rather sinister sayings. In their words: “The fortune cookie’s dark twin, with humorous wicked sayings in an outlandish design.” Certainly a novel twist!
- A box of choc-chip cookies from Bouvard containing rather baffling messages – including “COOKIE IS NOT DEAD.” (Perfect to mull over on your tea break)
Whether yours is an established brand or an up-and-comer, it’s always fun to explore the unexpected… what would surprise your Innovation Director the most… and what could that offer to consumers?
Whether you’d like to explore how your brand can deliver ‘simple pleasures’ or plot your next move in Stevia, don’t hesitate to give us a bell… We’d love to help you mull over your next FMCG innovation challenge.