CHICAGO - At the Sweets & Snacks Expo taking place in Chicago this week, the National Confectioners Association revealed seaweed, chickpea and lentil snacks, along with sweet and salty flavor pairings, are the top consumer snack trends for this year, the New York Daily News reports.
The snacks reflect multicultural flavor preferences by consumers, with plates that defy traditional flavors. Accordingly, sheets of roasted, salted seaweed, a staple in Korea, have become increasingly popular in large U.S. cities with Korean populations.
Additionally, chickpeas are being roasted and infused with chipotle chili & lime, black pepper or cinnamon, and bagged as alternatives to potato chips.
Other trends spotted at the annual Chicago event:
- "Share bags": community bags and boxes designed for sharing are increasing in popularity.
- Sweet and salty: salted caramel, cinnamon sugar popcorn, and salty toffee ice cream are building momentum for this yin-yang flavor pairing.
- Mango mania: mango is "in" for 2012, with flavor combinations with pineapple, orange, coconut, and strawberry finding their way into everything from freeze-dried fruits to salsa.
- Healthy eating: nutritional bars, gluten-free items and whole grain snacks continue to grow in popularity.