Butterfinger Advertising

Will “Functional Food” Replace Candy Bars?

Foodspring Protein Ice Cream BarsWho needs candy bars anymore? Boomers are too old for them. Millennials and Gen Z are woke to the poison that is sugar. So “functional” snacks are a thing. No wonder the folks who make M&Ms, Snickers, and Twix are buying into a functional food business called Foodspring. They’re ready to sell you yummy protein ice cream bars that “won’t stick to your hips.”

Among Europe’s Fastest Growing Food Businesses

Foodspring is barely six years old. But it’s quickly become one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing functional food businesses. The company is based in Berlin and sells in twelve international markets. They’re selling shakes, bars, and snacks that promise benefits for health and fitness. Having substantial direct-to-consumer expertise, Foodspring fits with Mars’ ambitions in personalized nutrition. Jean-Christophe Flatin, president of the Mars Edge division, president recently told Forbes:

We’re moving from one-size-fits-all food to what’s right for me. We’re building a global, targeted nutrition business that will allow us to pioneer the personalized nutrition territory. We are quite confident we have found the right partners.

Seeking More Than Pleasure

If you think that pleasure is enough for a snack to deliver, you are definitely stuck in the last century. Consumers want “functional” benefits. The marketers want you to think that means better health.

But we suspect it’s more about a tool for rationalizing snacking through the day and night. Traditional snack times are out the window says Sally Lyons Wyatt, an industry expert at IRI. “All generations are looking for snacks that deliver beyond basic nutrition,” she says.

More reasons for more snacking at more times means more sales. No doubt, it will all be low in sugar. But we’re pretty sure that it won’t mean more days of good health for the consumer.

Click here for more on Mars and Foodspring, here for more on the future of snacking.

Butterfinger, Enriched with Dextrose; vintage advertising via Classic Film / flickr

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July 4, 2019

One Response to “Will “Functional Food” Replace Candy Bars?”

  1. July 15, 2019 at 1:48 pm, Mary-Jo said:

    Although some are, many of these functional snacks are actually not lower in sugar. And the amount of additional nutrients they are fortified with often don’t amount to much — pure marketing. It can be helpful when protein is increased as when protein is higher, satiety increases, perhaps insulin spikes don’t occur, thus, we don’t overindulge as we do with candy and we metabolize more efficiently. Unfortunately, these snacks don’t guarantee people eat less. Often, if a bar or snack is presented as ‘healthy’, we eat more. Thus, you get the carb and calorie load you would get had you just consumed a Snickers. I see a new syndrome developing.