The study, conducted by market analysis firm 'Data Monitor', aimed to determine new trends in consumer food habits, in particular regarding behaviour towards snack foods and beverages which, according to surveys, remain a significant component in the daily diet of consumers despite their bad reputation.
The study's main observation is the increase in demand for healthy snacks and beverages, as 61% of European and US consumers have sought to improve the healthiness of their snacking in 2007.
"Although healthy products remain a small percentage of overall indulgent snack releases, the indication is that a growing number of consumers wish to snack indulgently, but in a "guilt-free" manner," said consumer market analyst and report author Richard Parker.
However, the study highlights the lack of credibility of traditional snack producers in responding to the health trend, as consumers are still sceptical towards corporate messages.
"Producers need to focus on building trust between themeselves and consumers through developing products that offer credible health benefits and at the same time meet the impulsive indulgent needs that drive snack consumption," outlined Parker.
On 1 July 2007, a new EU regulation on nutrition and health claims entered in force to prevent unfounded claims on food packages.