For decades, the ketogenic diet has been a lifestyle for many Americans. Today, this low carb eating plan is becoming more mainstream than ever. With more people embracing its benefits than ever before, foods that fit into this eating plan will be part of the healthy snack trends for this year and the near future. If you tap into this market, you can open doors into profits from the production of new, diet-friendly snack foods.
To fully understand why the keto diet is so popular today, you need to understand its origins and what makes it appeal to consumers. The consumers who choose this eating plan know the benefits of the diet, and actively seek foods that fit into it. Knowing how to capture this need for new foods in the keto niche will help you to provide a profitable product to this group.
Unlike some low carb diets that allow for unlimited amounts of protein, the keto diet requires no more than 30 to 35 percent of calories come from protein. Those on this plan limit carbs to no more than 10 percent of calories, while fat makes up the bulk of the diet, with 55 to 60 percent of calories from this macronutrient. While calorie amounts vary, the ideal carbohydrate intake on the keto plan should be less than 50 grams daily to induce ketosis.
Protein intake cannot exceed one gram per pound of body weight or 1.5 grams per pound for those who strength train. Too much protein in the diet allows the body to convert this macronutrient into glucose through gluconeogenesis.
The keto diet depletes the body’s stores of glycogen to trigger the use of ketone bodies for energy. These ketones prevent the release of insulin and reduce sugar and fat storage in the body while burning fat for fuel.
The presence of ketones in the bloodstream shows that the dieter has reached a state of nutritional ketosis. While the person continues to restrict carbs and keep moderate protein levels in their intake, this fat-burning state remains.
While a modern trend, the keto diet has been a lifestyle since 1921 when the keto diet founder Russel Wilder created the eating regime and the term “ketogenic diet.” He designed the eating plan as a means of controlling epileptic seizures in children.
At the time, few therapies existed to regulate pediatric seizures, as antiepileptic drugs remained far in the future. The ketogenic diet proved successful for the children who used it, allowing them to have fewer seizures. In fact, in a post-World War II study of 1,000 children who used the diet, researchers discovered excellent seizure control. In the late 1980s, the diet returned as a means of reducing the number of seizures. A 1992 study at Johns Hopkins found 30 percent of children had complete control of their seizures while on the diet.
While still used today by some parents to help control their children’s epilepsy, the keto diet has broken away from its use only in treatment clinics to become a popular weight loss regime. Low-carb diets became popular in the 1970s with the introduction of the Atkins diet. Other low-carb, high-fat diets have come and gone through the years to keep this eating style in the mind of dieters everywhere. Many variations of the keto diet exist today. They differ based on timetables for certain eating methods as well as the exact percentages of proteins, fats and carbs. All support an intake low in carbohydrates and high in fats.
While the ketogenic diet has proven beneficial for epilepsy in children, research continues to see if this diet helps other medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Those with diabetes must carefully regulate their carbohydrate intake with insulin to keep their blood glucose levels from rising too high. With its emphasis on low carbohydrate intake, the keto diet seems like a natural option for helping some people with diabetes control their condition. Studies have shown evidence to back this theory up. Some diabetics have more stable blood glucose levels on this diet. Future trials could see how effective this diet could be at reducing patients’ need for blood sugar controlling medication. Plus, some studies have shown the reversal of diabetic neuropathy in rats, though researchers have not yet done human trials.
For weight loss, the ketogenic diet shows promising results in studies. For instance, in a study of 39 adults with obesity, while on a low-calorie keto diet for eight weeks, they lost an average of 13 percent of their weight. Additionally, participants had lower appetites while following the keto plan.
Other studies have shown that people following a keto diet experienced more weight loss, a greater drop in blood pressure and triglycerides and better cholesterol levels after one to two years compared to people on low-fat diets.
The caveat with most of these studies was that participants only saw benefits while maintaining their keto eating plan. When they stopped using the diet, they lost the benefits gained from the plan.
Ketone production allows the body to tap into a denser energy source than glucose. The form of energy used by cells is ATP. Ketones produce significantly more of this energy source compared to glucose. For example, 100 grams of two different types of ketones produce 9,400 grams and 10,500 grams of ATP. This far outpaces the 8,700 grams of ATP that 100 grams of glucose make.
Due to the restrictions on foods in the keto diet, some people break their ketosis state to achieve more variety. This area is where snack food manufacturers can seek to fill by offering keto-friendly foods that replicate the textures or flavors of foods not allowed on the diet. For example, dieters who miss ice cream may get satisfaction from a low-carb dairy dessert. People who miss the crunch of carb-filled pretzels can enjoy salty, crunchy nuts.
Those who choose the keto diet as a weight loss plan tend to fall into white, wealthy families. According to data from Nielsen, those who follow the keto eating plan are overwhelmingly white – 87 percent are Caucasian. About 46 percent of keto food shoppers come from upper-middle-class households with annual incomes averaging at least $100,000. Many of those households have two or more people, with 42 percent of those eating per the keto plan from two-person homes.
To stick to their diet, many consumers look to the health food options at grocery stores or drug stores. While 75 percent of buyers felt satisfied with the selection of healthy foods at their grocers, a mere 24 percent felt the same about the healthy foods at their drug stores. For those looking to tap into the keto diet target audience, putting products into drug stores could present a profitable opportunity to introduce a new snack.
While the keto food industry has several sectors, keto market research found that the diet’s main profits come from sales in the categories of supplements, dairy, snacks, beverages and other foods. Of these groups, the snack sector contributes the largest share of the global market.
One aspect of the keto diet is its emphasis on eating fresh produce, especially non-starchy vegetables and high-fiber fruits. Thanks in part to this requirement of keto and other low-carb diets, in 2019, fresh produce grew $2.4 billion. To tap into the need for quick fuel while on-the-go, convenience foods that include produce have seen a massive increase in sales, growing 10 percent every year from 2012 through 2016.
Merging keto-friendly snack foods with health claims, such as no artificial ingredients, appeals to consumers looking for healthy, fast foods that fit into their eating plan.
According to keto market analysis, this sector of the food industry has a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5 percent. When combining this information with the 2018 market amount of $9.69 billion, by 2027, researchers estimate this market to reach $15.64 billion.
Around the world, most of the growth will come from developed and developing nations, such as the United States, India, China, Canada and Germany. With the growth of low carb eating in these countries, new products that cater to the needs of the keto diet will fuel keto business opportunities in these locations.
In the grocery aisles, trends beyond keto products continue to drive consumers toward foods that have lower sugar and higher fats. Having more nutritional information, snacking, a desire for healthier products and the rise of specialty foods all push sales of foods that fit the keto diet.
Today’s millennial consumers have grown up with nutrition labels on foods. Since 1990 when the Nutrition Labeling and Food Education Act passed, products on grocery shelves have carried information about their calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. With having this information so readily available, consumers can see at a glance if a food fits into their particular diet, whether they choose keto or another eating plan.
Snacking no longer is an occasional treat for many Americans. At least once a day, 94 percent of Americans snack. Among millennials, snacking becomes part of their lifestyle, with a quarter claiming four or more snacks daily. In fact, snacks now account for half of eating opportunities during the day for consumers. Connecting to this change in eating behaviors will drive product creation and marketing in the future.
Another trend among consumers is a strong focus on reducing undesirable products in their food while boosting benefits. For example, in the Nielsen 2019 Health Care study, 47 percent of consumers wanted vitamins or minerals in their foods, and 51 percent valued all-natural products. Majorities also wanted heart-healthy foods and consumables made without artificial ingredients.
The specialty foods market, including foods for specific diets, has surpassed all other food categories, with sales in 2018 of $147.8 billion. For many, if the snacks they need do not appear on their store shelves, they can still tap into the larger variety of specialty found in online stores. Consumers can find their favorite products to fit their diets much easier now with e-commerce and delivery of specialty foods.
In the 1980s and 1990s, low-fat diets made consumers think that any type of dietary fat would consequently raise their weight and increase their chances of heart disease. However, consumers today have reversed the trend and begun to accept healthier fats into their diets. In fact, full-fat dairy products such as butter, cheese and whole milk have returned to the mainstream.
According to a 2019 study from the Hartman Group, 40 percent of those surveyed sought to actively raise the number of healthy fats in their diets. Twenty-one percent of survey participants specifically mentioned increasing their intake of full-fat dairy products.
The trend toward greater acceptance of dietary fats stems from the use of this macronutrient as the basis of low-carb diets. Because consumers want more healthy fats, those on the keto diet will also find it easier in the future to get the high-fat, low-carb products they need.
Modern life has people constantly on the go. Many consumers either lack the time for three sit-down meals a day or want to supplement those meals with snacks. Up to 47 percent of consumers find daily snacks appealing. For those snackers, specialty chips, snacks and pretzels made up 48 percent of sales in the snacking sector. This amount grew between 2016 and 2018 to become a $4 billion portion of the food industry.
While people want to snack, those who follow the keto diet must adhere strictly to the low-carb regime to maintain their body metabolic state of ketosis. In America, 84 percent of consumers actively look to limit sugar in their diets, with 80 percent of people looking at the amount of sugar on product labels. One industry report found that, in 2020, artificial sweeteners will fall out of favor though manufacturers will continue to reduce sugars in their products.
By using keto-friendly sweeteners that offer zero carbs, such as erythritol, stevia and monk fruit, manufacturers limit sugars while adhering to keto requirements. For consumers who want to limit sugars or follow a ketogenic diet, keto-friendly snacks fit their needs.
In fact, at the 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, keto snack foods appeared at many of the booths. The array of foods that premier at this expo help industry experts to predict what will become popular in the year to come. Among the keto offerings were portable options such as snack bars, sugar-free cookies and cheese bites. These options have high fat, low sugar and moderate levels of protein to induce and maintain ketosis.
For this year and the near future, snacks will likely have no added sugars and all-natural ingredients. Plus, many agree higher fat products and keto-friendly foods will become more mainstream as consumers accept high fat, low carb as a healthier option.
Keto snack manufacturers should have the capabilities to adhere to the regulations of the keto diet’s strict levels for fats, proteins and carbs. To ensure you get a product you feel proud to put your name on, find a manufacturer that fulfills the attributes of a quality keto product maker.
Consistency in both service and products is an important trait when choosing a keto snack maker for your products. You need a producer who has a record of proven success with high-quality products.
Look for reviews and business information about the company to verify its past products and results. Manufacturers that have been in business for a short time may not be your best option for a significant project. Find a partner who has been producing snack foods and similar items for decades with numerous successes.
Even if you have already done research into the type of keto snack you want to make for the production of the actual product, you will need help with development. Manufacturers that have in-house teams for new product development can make this portion of the process easier for you. When you have a team of experts working on making the snack as tasty and cost-effective as possible while adhering to the nutritional guidelines of a keto diet, you can boost the work done by your research and development department.
The process of bringing a new product to market requires knowledge of the industry and experience in product introduction. Your manufacturing company should have a project manager or team to help you through the process. To ensure quality and security in your new product, see if the snack maker offers the following:
These traits ensure you have found a snack maker who can work with you and invest in your product to get it to market and produce quantities to meet demand.
One reason many companies choose to outsource their snack manufacturing is a need for larger-scale production. By choosing a contract manufacturer, you can tap into their resources of a larger facility without needing to invest in factory-level production for your company. In fact, the best partners in manufacturing will have the willingness to invest in your idea through product development and more.
Ensure the contract manufacturer has a significant production capacity to fulfill your potential demand. Look at their current production levels for other products to see how much their facility can produce. With a large capacity for production, you do not need to worry about demand for your product outpacing the production levels.
Your choice of a contract manufacturer ultimately is a business decision. Because you must balance your investment with its return, you must find a company to work with who offers the services you need, the traits you want and a competitive price structure.
Be careful to not compare absolute prices. You must also ensure the contract manufacturers offer product development, high quality, project management and the manufacturing capacity to meet your needs. As you consider the cost of your contract manufacturer, do not forget what you get for the amount you invest into the agreement.
If you need a contract manufacturer for your keto snack products, contact Warrell Creations today. With our variety of products and ability to offer “better for you” snack offerings, our model pairs well with your aims of bringing healthy new snack foods to the market.