Trend Insight: Snacking & Indulgence

January 9, 2017
Consumer Flavor Snacks
With 83% of consumers snacking daily and 26% of those consumers snacking between meals to “treat or reward” themselves, there is no doubt that consumers have become serious snackers, and a large portion are indulgent snackers, to boot. We’ve commissioned a national survey to look at indulgence to explore the topic more deeply. One thing is clear: whether it is a classic pull toward some sinful decadence or a healthier choice that provides the taste of indulgence without the guilt — consumers are treating themselves, and they’re doing it outside of mealtimes.

To read our full report, click here!

Let’s take a closer look at how indulgence is influencing the snacking category.

Types of Indulgence

There are many ways in which consumers indulge each day. We define indulgence in 4 ways:
  1. Classic Indulgence

  2. Indulgence as an Experience

  3. Affordable Indulgence

  4. Healthy Indulgence

Here at FONA we wanted to dig a little deeper into the topic of indulgence with consumers. We commissioned a nationwide survey to gain insight into consumer’s thoughts around indulgence. 500 respondents (50/50 male-female split) across the nation gave us their feedback in an online survey.

To our consumers, Classic Indulgence—which FONA defines as: “treating yourself, sinful decadence, nothing healthy about it, no reason to feel guilty. Dessert alcoholic beverages or guilty pleasures of choice after a long work week,” was preferred by 50% of respondents.

Top indulgences preferred by our consumers include:

• Chocolate

• Ice cream

• Cake

• Candy

• Soda

• Beer/wine

Get the full report here, and take a look at some interesting product intros!

Classic Indulgence

In today’s stressful world, just about everyone needs an occasional indulgence, and the easiest and most common way is through food and beverage. While 33% of consumers say they are snacking on healthier foods this year compared to last year, 62% most often snack to satisfy a craving, according to Mintel. Consumers appear willing to put the calorie counts aside and treat themselves.


Afters Ice Cream—with a tagline “ice cream is cheaper than therapy” you know it has to be good! At Afters, they are combining the best of both worlds with a warm donut and handcrafted ice cream, creating an ice cream donut sandwich. Flavors include: include Vietnamese Coffee, Milk & Cereal, Jasmine Milk Tea, Churro, Cookie Butter, and Peanut Butter S’mores.

Wienerschnitzel— The home of America’s favorite chili dog has unveiled Loaded Po’Taters. Each heaping portion of crispy taters are smothered in Wienerschnitzel’s world famous chili and shredded cheese, and then loaded with awesome toppings like bacon, pepperoni, jalapeños and their new red jalapeno and garlic Blazin’ Sauce.

Black Top Craft Burgers & Beer—serving over-the-top milkshakes that are taking NYC by storm. For $15, sweet-tooth enthusiasts can try to put a dent in milkshakes garnished with lollipops, full-sized cookies and pretzels.

Healthy Indulgence

While our polled consumers did not rate healthy indulgence as the #1 type of indulgence they are seeking—we still believe that healthy indulgence is a trend to keep on our radar.


Indulgent snacking has not been immune to the influence of the health and wellness macro trend, with some consumers are leaning towards permissive indulgence. There is a wide spectrum between healthy and indulgent and consumers are seeking healthy and/or indulgent snacks. The rise of thins and crisps, mini-portions and single-servings is helping consumers manage portions as well as giving them endless options to minimize guilt. Balancing health and indulgence can be a tight rope, but we are spotting an array of new product introductions and menu offerings to allow consumers to indulge without breaking the calorie bank too much.


Red Mango— Skinny Sorbettos are dairy-free and available in sugar free and no sugar added flavors, and only 10-15 calories per serving and fortified with probiotics. Flavors include: raspberry, dark chocolate, strawberry and grapefruit.

Red Brick Pizza— Straciatella is described as an all-natural, creamy and delicious dessert that is 93% fat-free and less fat and calories than ordinary ice cream.

The Cheesecake Factory— Skinny Cocktails including Long Island Iced Tea, Sangria, Margarita and Cosmopolitan.

Olive Garden— 25 Mini Desserts from chocolate mousse, amaretto tiramisu and many more ranging from 190-380 calories each.

Click here for the full report, which includes a ton of interesting product intros!


Let FONA’s market insight and research experts translate these trends into product category ideas for your brand. They can help you with concept and flavor pipeline development, ideation, consumer studies and white space analysis to pinpoint opportunities in the market.

Our flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. We understand how to mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution.

Contact our Sales Department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or visit

Sources: Mintel Food & Drink, GNPD, Canadean, CSP Daily News