- Innova Market Insights found that the sub-category of fruit-based snacks accounts for 18% of all global launches, more than twice what it was five years ago, according to Food Business News.
- Fruit-based snacks, which can consist of dried snacking fruit, fruit bars and processed fruit, rank third among all snack category launches, following savory/salty snacks and snack nuts/seeds.
- Innova reported that the popularity of fruit and nut mixes, as well as more exotic fruit such as goji and acai, have added to the segment's growth. Additionally, chocolate fruit-based snacks and snacks made with yogurt and coconut are all trends on the rise.
Fruit-based snacks may be growing in popularity, but many nutritionists warn that many of these aren’t especially healthy. Just because products have the word "fruit" in their name or listed ingredients doesn't make them better for consumers — especially when they're covered in chocolate.
Consumers can check out the labels of these products to see what’s really inside, but too many don’t. Many fruit snacks have lots of added sugar, and others contain loads of artificial ingredients and trans fats. Plus, most don’t have any protein, healthy fat or fiber to make them a good snack in the first place, so it's less likely that consumers who eat them will satisfy their hunger.
Despite this, many consumers are convinced fruit snacks are healthier than other snack choices.
Over the years, complaints and lawsuits have been filed against companies like Welch’s and General Mills to try to make more people aware of fruit snacks' actual content.
There are some fruit snacks that are truly good for consumers and rely on natural ingredients only. More than a quarter of fruit snacks launched last year positioned themselves as natural or with no additives or preservatives, according to the Innova report. But most don't fall into this category.