Honey’s popularity in snack foods was exhibited at this year’s SNAXPO conference and trade show, held from March 3-5, 2010, in Fort Worth, Texas. Thousands of snack manufacturers strolled the aisles, and hundreds of exhibitors displayed the latest in snack ingredient and equipment technology.
The National Honey Board exhibited at this year’s SNAXPO, and informed snack food manufacturers about the many benefits of incorporating honey into a variety of salty and savory snack food products.
- Salty Snacks: In salty snacks, honey is the ideal stand-alone or complementary flavor to provide potato chips and pretzels with an exceptional taste. In pretzels, honey often is used to provide sweet flavor notes in wheat-based products. Honey’s use is especially important in whole grain pretzels, where the bitter flavor of whole grains can be masked with honey. Potato chips benefit from honey’s sweetness and flavor when combined with more spicy flavors, such as Barbeque or Chipotle.
- Savory Snacks: In food bars and savory snacks, honey’s usage mimics the functionality seen in the baking industry, where honey plays a significant role offering food manufacturers an all-natural sweetener.
From the trade show floor, honey’s impact on the snack industry was clearly visible. Honey’s value extends far beyond taste and plays a major role in the marketing of snack foods. One snack manufacturer, Wise Foods, displayed two products made with honey in SNAXPO’s tasting area. These products, Honey BBQ Potato Chips and Honey BBQ Cheez Doodles, not only promoted honey in the product name, but they also featured honey elements, including a honey bee character and a honey comb, on product packaging.
Another trend the National Honey Board observed on the exhibition floor was the growth of niche and specialty manufacturers. Similar to other segments of the food industry, there is significant growth in small manufacturers that position their products as more natural than their mainstream alternatives. Many of these specialty snack food manufacturers use honey for its flavor and because it is an all-natural sweetener.