Small Bites, Sips & Shareables

October 14, 2021
Trends Innovation
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When it comes to food and beverage for consumers today, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Classic favorites turned miniature to innovative bite-sized formats and shareable options — whether for a ‘healthier’ smaller portion size or simply a new fun format, consumers are scaling down and turning to more snackified options. We can see this trend gaining ground cross-category. And the trend parallels with consumers’ increase in snacking as well, allowing for consumers to try new flavors in smaller formats and take a chance on more adventurous flavor options they may have not committed to before. Let’s take a look at this space and see where your brand might be able to capitalize.


Consumer Interest


While bite-sized and miniature formats are not necessarily a new idea, the trend has blown up in the recent few years. The trend has evolved since its first major appearance around 10 years ago, when manufacturers began to create ‘100 Calorie Packs‘ of consumers’ favorite snacks in the grocery aisle.

Convenience and interest in new flavors and experiences during the pandemic could have spurred this interest as bite-sized and shareable formats allow consumers a way to taste test, without necessarily having to commit fully to one flavor.
“Bites also fit our need for something new, exciting and different, especially in 2020, a year of sameness with isolation and restriction replacing experiences and exposure to new flavors and textures in new retail or foodservice offerings,” – Mintel

As consumers return to life outside the home and try to balance new and less predictable routines, the flexibility of shareables and smaller, portionable options will meet a wide variety of consumer needs. - Mintel


Snackifying Food & Beverage


Snacks are likely where we see bite-sized and miniature versions the most, and it makes sense as snacking has been a category that consumers turned to throughout the pandemic. But this is not the only popular category for small bites. Today, manufacturers are snackifying all sorts of segments from prepared meals to alcohol, desserts and more.

In the snacking space, tinier introductions in bite-sized formats, miniatures and shareable options allow consumers to try new flavors and innovative products on a smaller scale as well as permissibly indulge in smaller portions.

Products of Note:

RipVan Cookies & Cream Mini Waffles are described as a unique, guiltless and indulgent bite-size European snack. The snack provides 6g of fiber, 3g of sugar and 100 calories per serving.

36% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Sargento Snack Bites feature flavors including Rustic Gouda + Mild Yellow Cheddar, Fiesta Pepper Jack + Asadero, Sharp White Cheddar + Mild Yellow Natural Cheddar Cheeses and Colby + Monterey Jack. The product contains up to 7 g of protein and up to 110 calories in each 1-oz serving. 

Sun-Maid Bites feature oats, nuts and fruit and come in four different flavors including Banana Split, S’mores, PB & J and Birthday Cake. Each four-piece serving contains 110 calories, 2 g protein, 9 g sugar and 2 g fiber.

Field Roast Miniature Corn Dogs are described as vegan frankfurters dunked in a traditional sweet cornbread batter and crisped to perfection. This all American vegetarian product is made with 100% real vegan meat.

30% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.
“In line with the progression of 'snackification' culture, food manufacturers and retailers are reformatting offerings into bite-size creations. Even more upscale items, traditionally enjoyed in meal form, are being scaled down into snack portions. This shift suggests that, when it comes to consumption, the modern consumer is of the variety that prefers a "taste" of everything, rather than indulging a single choice.” – TrendHunter

Better-for-You Bites


Consumers love for snacking has increased as they spent more time at home. But in alignment with their new pursuit for health and wellness, many are searching for options that allow them to satisfy their cravings guilt-free.

From low calorie egg white bites to 100 calorie packs, bite-sized protein formats and more, consumers have lots of options to fulfill the need for tasty treats while still focusing on their health. In addition, product developers can find much opportunity in this space.

Products of Note:


Organic Valley Egg Bites are heat-and-eat products that come in a two-bite, 4-oz package with 14 to 16 grams of protein and fewer than 250 calories. They can be ready to eat by microwaving for 90 seconds and come in uncured ham & swiss, sausage & pepper jack and feta & chives.

ZENB Veggie Bites claim to be a bite-size snack that offers one full cup of vegetables per six-piece serving. The product comes in multiple flavors such as summer beets, orange and cacao nibs; sweet corn, pineapple and cardamom; and edamame, mango and spinach.

Lenny & Larry’s the Complete Crunchy Cinnamon Sugar Cookies are made with plant-based proteins and do not contain GMO, egg, dairy, soy and sugar alcohol. The bite-size product contains 20g protein and 14g fiber per serving.

23% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Pitaya Illuminating Plant Power Jackfruit Bite-Sized Pieces are made from sweet and ripe jackfruit that is said to be normally gigantic in size and nutrients and an overachiever in the superfruit world.

29% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.
“Bites are relatively low-risk – the commitment is just one bite, not a whole bar or bag, and they fill the need for a quick pick-me-up in a long day.” – Mintel


Smaller Sips


The search for smaller portions doesn’t stop at food either, we’re spotting innovative formats in the beverage segment as well. From mini pop cans to health juice shots and more, food and beverage developers can find opportunity in miniature beverages with both classic favorites or innovative flavors.

Products of Note:


RumChata Mini-Chatas are made with Caribbean rum and real dairy cream. The natural and artificially flavoured cream liquor alcoholic creamers can be used for hot chocolate, coffee or chai tea, and retail in a 375ml pack with 15 x 25ml single-serve units.

Numi Organics Golden Power Turmeric, Orange, Coconut & Ginger Daily Super Shot contains 68% juice, power roots turmeric and ginger, activator black pepper, and orange and lemon that are said to add zing in a 2-fl. oz. pack.

30% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Forto The Original Donut Shop Sweet & Creamy Latte Coffee Shot is said to provide coffee energy deliciousness with 100mg of coffee which is claimed to be the equivalent of one cup of coffee. This ready to drink coffee with milk is said to be made with premium roasted beans that have been brewed for longer and is naturally flavored.

46% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Signature Select Raspberry Lemonade Drink Mix is artificially flavored, and just requires the addition of water to prepare. The product contains five calories per packet, is free from sugar and low in calories, and retails in single-serve packet.

58% of consumers in our panel responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Miniature Beverage Taking Flight


What started as beer and wine tasting flights has now moved to more innovative offerings such as latte flights, mimosa flights, margarita flights and more. Though not limited to beverage (we’ve even spotted this with sliders, wings, and tacos), consumers have been buzzing to taste different types of beverages, all in one convenient offering.

This smaller portioned tasting format could be relayed in the grocery aisle as well, particularly catering to either indecisive consumers or those who like to try different adventurous flavors.


Indulge in Tiny Desserts


Along with their search for guilt free-snacking, consumers are also looking to permissibly indulge. And while health and wellness became a priority during the pandemic, so did the need for comfort and self-care through indulgent foods and flavor. The increase in smaller portioned formats allow them to satisfy their sweet tooth without drastically increasing their caloric intake.

Products of Note:


Klondike Minis Reese’s Mini Snack Ice Cream Bars comprises peanut butter light ice cream in a milk chocolate flavored coating. The product is half the size of regular Klondike bars and is said to be a quick bite that's just right.

50% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Cinnabon Frosted CinnaSweet Swirls are said to be baked two mini cinnamon rolls together, swirled with Cinnabon ooey-gooey brown sugar cinnamon and topped with the signature cream cheese frosting. 39% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Blue Bunny Mini Swirls Cookies 'n Cream Mini Cones are described as sweet cream flavored reduced fat ice cream with a swirl of fudge, dipped in white confectionery coating topped with crunchy chocolate cookie pieces, all inside a crispy chocolate cone.

71% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Sour Punch Sweet Bites are the brand’s only sweet, non-sour candy. The bite-size candy feature top requested flavors including dream berry, passion punch, grateful grape and cotton candy

Meal Options


We’re seeing smaller portion sizes through bite-sized and miniature formats in the meal space as well. Similarly, consumers are exchanging traditional meals for shareable options especially in the dining space, such as charcuterie boards and tapas offerings. These offerings not only create a more social experience for consumers, but they allow them to try bold flavors and foods and beverages they may not have committed to otherwise.

High Liner Wild Caught Haddock Bites are a responsibly sourced product that provides 11g of protein per serving and contains no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. These bite size pieces of haddock are seasoned with a crispy breading and are said to be perfect for dipping, packed with protein and ready in minutes.

48% of consumers responded that thy likely or definitely would buy this product.

Tasteful Selections Season & Savor Garden Herb Bite-Size Potatoes are described as fresh bite-size potatoes with a natural offering of garlic, parsley, red bell pepper and onion. The microwaveable product is consistently sized for even cooking.

65% of consumers in our panel responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Specially Selected Charcuterie Collection comprises sweet and tangy peppers, Italian-style garlic mushroom, garlic green pitted olives and blue cheese stuffed olives. The ready to eat product retails in a 30-oz recyclable pack.

32% of consumers in our panel responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Jimmy Dean French Toast Casserole Bites are made with French toast, pork sausage and scrambled eggs. This microwavable bite-size product with breakfast flavors provides 8g protein per serving.

44% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.
“Generation Z and younger Millennials seek out shareable foods, in part to be social and convivial, and in part because many are used to making whole meals out of snacks and small bites,” says Kara Nielsen, food trend expert in Oakland, Calif. “Variety, multiple textures and bold flavors are also part of the experience. With that in mind, shareable items need to work harder to be craveable, offer positive nutrition and work for vegans or gluten-free diners who may be part of a group.” – Bar & Restaurant

Tiny Food Trends


We’re spotting small bites and tiny food trends globally on menus and on social media. From dedicated accounts to tiny food to bite sized menu introductions and more, let’s take a look at these trends and how they may have originated.

#tinyfood shows 85.3k posts on Instagram

Tiny is on 1.2% of US menus with a 1-year growth +9.3%

We can see this trend on menus featuring tiny tacos, popcorn chicken, one-bite brownie desserts and similar offerings

Trends Of Note:


Tiny Kitchen by Tastemade has accounts on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok dedicating to posting new tiny food recipes each week. The food is all edible from tiny TikTok feta pasta to tiny empanadas and tiny chicken pot pies.

Mini Pancake Cereal trended on TikTok where users cooked coin-sized pancakes, placed in a bowl, and topped with milk. The snack was consumed just as you would cereal and the hashtag #pancakecereal has racked up over a billion views on TikTok.
“These kinds of videos were popularized online around 2016, but the trend traces back to Japan and the cultural fascination with kawaii or "cuteness." Psychology also suggests that people love watching these videos because it brings a sense of accomplishment and mystical calmness.” – Delish.com


The Takeaways


Mini pancake cereal to mini juice shots for your health, bite-sized meal alternatives and more, the options in the small bite and shareable food and beverage space are expanding. And social media trends coming from platforms such as TikTok and Instagram have led the way for many new innovations. As consumers search for innovative formats and flavors, miniature introductions not only add a fun and exciting twist to offerings, but also entice consumers to try new flavors they may not have before. There is a unique intrigue for consumers when it comes to miniature food and beverage, and it’s a trend that your brand can leverage and capitalize on. Where does your brand fit in?

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Let FONA’s market insight and research experts get to work for you. Translate these trends into bold new ideas for your brand. Increase market share and get to your “what’s next.” Our technical 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. Let’s mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution.

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Sources in full report