5 Things Consumers Want in a Bar

October 26th, 2022

Diving into consumer bar preferences, such as:

  • Sustainable Ingredients
  • Added Protein
  • A Clean Label
  • Plant-Based Nutrition
  • Enhanced Texture

Need a midday energy boost? A healthy pre-workout snack? There’s a bar for that.

Consumers are snacking more throughout the day and are increasingly looking for healthier and more convenient snack choices that they can take on-the-go. From traditional cereal and snack bars to new protein and functional nutrition bars, this trend continues to fuel innovative growth across bar categories. With so many options available to consumers, how can you ensure your bars are unique and your brand is positioned as an innovator in the industry?

Here are five things consumers look for in a bar:

1. Sustainable Ingredients

As consumers continue to become more concerned about the impact their purchases have on the environment, overall interest in sustainable ingredients grows. Now, with 74% of Gen Z and 79% of millennial consumers indicating that they're more likely to buy from brands that are more transparent and sustainable1, formulators must incorporate eco-friendly ingredients to grab the attention of the modern-day consumer.

74 percent of Gen Z and 79 percent of millennial consumers

2. Added Protein

Today, 41% of adult consumers want to incorporate more protein into their diets2, and 55% of global consumers would pay a premium for high protein products3. As plant-based innovation continues to increase and new protein sources enter the market, product developers are focused on finding the right blends to hit their protein targets while still achieving desirable texture and taste in the finished product. Formulators can use almond protein powder within a protein bar as it provides a smooth mouthfeel and neutral-slightly sweet-taste that won't be overpowering or undesirable.

Close up of protein line on food label

3. A Clean Label

Consumers are more deliberate about the food choices they make and expect more transparency from the brands they buy. In fact, 71% of consumers are willing to pay more for products that have natural ingredients4 they recognize. With a deeper understanding of what ingredients they're consuming, interest in free-from products has grown. The association of free-from claims, such as gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free, feed into the overall clean label trend-further expanding its impact.

71% of consumers are willing to pay more for products that have natural ingredients they recognize.

4. Plant-Based Nutrition

In the U.S., 31% of consumers are planning to eat more plant-protein over the next five years and 44% of Gen Z consumers are willing to pay more for plant-based nutrition5. To meet this demand, product developers are doubling down on efforts to use more plant-based ingredients in snack and nutrition bars to appeal to younger, health-conscious and eco-friendly consumers.


5. Enhanced Texture

Mouthfeel and texture have also proven to be a strong influence on consumer bar purchases. In fact, 58% of North American consumers noted that texture is influential to their purchase decisions6. In bars, healthy inclusions such as nuts, fruits and seeds can be combined to offer a range of textures and satisfy consumer demand for natural and more nutritious snack options. To provide the "crunch factor" consumers are looking for, formulators can incorporate almond inclusions within their next bar offering.

Close-up of almond texture

Incorporating almonds in a variety of forms, including almond protein powder, almond inclusions and almond butter, can help bar manufacturers increase overall protein content, adhere to current consumer trends and enhance the texture of their products. Interested in learning more about how to address consumer demands with innovation? Check out our article on clean label innovation here.


1 "Earthwise 2022: Consumers Demand for Sustainability Grows," Storebrands. June 2022.
2 "Consumers Overdoing It on Protein, Falling Short in Other Nutrients," Progressive Grocer. 2022.
3 "Clean Label, Natural Foods Drawing More Attention from Consumers and Grocery Chains," USA News Group. August 2022.
4 "Consumer research indicated plant-based food interest is fueled by environmental concerns," Meat+Poultry. June 2022.
5 "3 Trends shaping protein formulations to meet consumer needs," Food & Beverage Insider. September 2022.
6 "How Leveraging Texture can Differentiate your Products," NSMP. 2021.

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