Brussels sprouts have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, in restaurants, on food blogs, and on kitchen tables. Now this formerly overlooked vegetable is getting a new life as an ingredient and inspiration in snack foods, along with some other trendy vegetables like cauliflower. Brussels sprouts are being used as a base for puff snacks and as flavoring for chips. These snacking options help consumers to get their vegetables in a roundabout way. These vegetable snacks are the perfect example of brands producing niche markets for Bountiful Choice, one of the Top Trends for 2018.
Small brand Vegan Rob’s was launched this year by innovative food entrepreneur Robert Ehrlich, the founder of the wildly popular Pirate’s Booty snack. In 2015, he launched Vegan Rob’s snack foods, a branch that focuses on “nutrition and compassion.” The Vegan Rob’s product line is filled with vegan puffs and chips utilizing seemingly every food trend, from Brussels sprouts to cauliflower to turmeric and probiotics. Vegan Rob’s uses consumers’ love of airy and highly addicting snack foods like the puffs to give consumers an extra serving of vegetables.
Food marketers and manufacturers can look to Vegan Rob’s for using trendy vegetables like Brussel sprouts to help make veganism and other vegetables more approachable. This is also a great way to market vegetables to children who aren’t likely to choose vegetables on their own. As veganism and vegetarianism gets more popular and widespread, consumers will be looking for actually healthy snacks that taste good. American consumers don’t have time for the cardboard-like, boring, and unhealthy snacks that used to be identified with vegan and vegetarian snacks. Meat-eaters are also looking to snacks like Vegan Rob’s to painlessly get their daily servings of vegetables.
For huge UK-based chip company, Walker’s Brussels sprouts are being used as a flavoring. As part of their line of holiday flavors, they are making Brussels sprout flavored chips. The company is relying on a “loyal legion of lovers” to buy the vegetable-flavored snacks. Britain is also the country with the most consumption of Brussels sprouts in Europe.
While this is a niche flavor that might seem to appeal to very few customers, it does signal to food marketers and manufacturers that vegetable-flavored snack foods can be done and can be popular. Consumers are looking for something with more of a “green” flavor outside of the normal sour cream and cheddar chips or barbecue flavoring.
For small businesses looking to innovate in snack foods, these examples show that no trend should be untouched by snack foods. Consumers are willing to try snack foods that have a healthy bend that won’t expand their waistline and are easily consumed on the go.
A consumer might not always have the time to make a vegetable for snacking or the access to it, but brands like Vegan Rob’s and Walker’s are showing that vegetable-based or flavored snack foods can be just as popular as the real thing.