Reducing the Number of Ingredients in Snack Foods Using New Technology


Many customers, especially millennials, are demanding packaged snack products with simpler ingredient lists. Image Credit: Flickr user Marco Verch

More than ever, customers are realizing that certain food labels, such as “low calorie,” “nonfat,” “vitamin-fortified” and even “organic” are not necessarily synonymous with “healthy.” This is especially true for millennials, who are increasingly looking for food products that have simpler ingredient lists. But that doesn’t mean that eating packaged foods is out of the question for this group of young people. In fact, according to a 2015 study of the consumer behavior analysis firm Canadean, 41% of 18-  to 24-year-olds snack between meals, and that figure jumps to 44% for consumers ages 25-34.1

In order to accommodate the snacking habits and on-the-go lifestyles of today’s young adults, more consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies than ever are looking to develop snacks that have just a few “real food” ingredients.2 Researchers at CPG companies who want to break into this market can turn to high-level software to assist with the development of high-quality snack foods with fewer ingredients.

Simplifying Ingredient Lists Without Compromising Quality

While it is clear that a simpler ingredient list can appeal to millennial consumers as they scan for products in the grocery store, only a high-quality product will keep them coming back for more. In order to ensure that the company develops and retains a loyal customer base for a new snack product with fewer ingredients, food researchers need to create innovative packaged snack foods that accomplish both goals. Here are a few things to consider when taking on this challenge:

  • Cutting Down on Texture-Related Additives


Not only are millennials looking for snack foods with fewer ingredients, but they are also favoring CPG products that contain ingredients with names they recognize.3 Often, that means that ingredients related to texture, like carrageenan, xanthan gum and partially hydrogenated oils can be a cause for suspicion, especially if too many are used in a single product. Food researchers can use modern formulations software to evaluate the textural qualities of simpler formulations, in order to ensure that they have an appealing texture, even when these additives have been reduced or eliminated.

  • Using Fewer Preservatives


Like additives, preservatives don’t appeal to customers who are reading ingredient lists. But for some ingredient combinations, they are necessary to ensure an adequate shelf-life. With modern software, food researchers can streamline the testing process for a wide range of formulations and model freshness changes over time. This can help ensure that companies can pursue the development of snack foods that don’t have a lot of preservatives, but will still last for a reasonable amount of time in the warehouse, on the store shelf and in the customer’s cabinet.

  • Sourcing Appealing Ingredients


Although millennials want to recognize the ingredients in the packaged snacks they eat, they still want to keep snacking interesting, so they aren’t afraid to try snacks that contain uncommon foods or unusual combinations of “real food” products.4 For instance, Mondelez International is planning to debut three-ingredient crunch bars made from Peruvian sweet potatoes, and Rhythm Superfoods is selling nacho-flavored kale chips that only contain ingredients that could be found in the average millennial’s kitchen. Formulations software can help food researchers source high-quality ingredients that appeal to label-readers and also taste great.

Keeping Costs in Check

Last but not least, a final concern for millennials who are choosing packaged snack products is price. They want convenient, innovative and healthy snacks, but they can’t afford to break the bank on them, especially since they snack so regularly.5 One way for food manufacturers to control the costs of the products they sell is to improve efficiency during the research process. For instance, using software that supports in silico testing of CPG products can cut down on the time it takes for a CPG product to go from the concept stage to the store shelf, which lowers the overall investment cost for the company. Plus, computer-based testing reduces the amount of money that has to be spent on ingredients during the testing process. These cost reductions can be passed on to customers so that products can be sold at affordable prices, keeping them accessible to a broader range of consumers, especially hungry millennials.

BIOVIA Formulations is an innovative software solution that can transform the research and development process for packaged snack foods at CPG companies. It can help improve lab efficiency and research quality, supporting your company in the development of innovative snacks that meet the high standards of the millennial generation. Contact us today to learn more about this product and our other offerings.  

  1. “Three Reasons Millennials Are Snacking,” July 14, 2016,
  2. “Mondelez Overhauls Snack Line as Deal Talk Rattles Food Industry,” February 21, 2017,
  3. “Packaged Foods’ New Selling Point: Fewer Ingredients,” August 9, 2016,
  4. “What Brands Need to Know About Modern Millennial Snack Culture,” February 8, 2017,
  5. “Millennial Snacking Trends In Focus at NACS Show,” October 20, 2016,