Healthy Confectionery & Snack Manufacturing: Low Fat, High Protein

Healthy Confectionery and Snack Manufacturing Expertise

In May 2017, about half the companies in the confectionery sector and Partnership for a Healthier America announced they were implementing initiatives to help consumers reduce their consumption of sweets and sugar. The report included the manufacturers’ plans to make at least half their individually packaged products contain 200 calories or fewer by 2022, and to put the number of calories on the front of their packaging.

While it may seem counter-intuitive for confectionery manufacturers to encourage consumers to eat fewer sweets and sugar, it’s a sound business decision in response to consumer demand for healthier confection and snack options. In addition to reducing the amount of sugar in their products, manufacturers are also offering new, healthier snacking options to reach a wider audience. To keep up with healthy snack trends, manufacturers will have to make changes to existing recipes or offer consumers a new line of clean, all-natural and nutritionally balanced snacks.

The Rising Popularity of Healthy Snack Foods

While reducing sugar, eliminating genetically modified ingredients, increasing protein, removing trans fats and improving fiber in confections and snacks is an excellent first step, consumers want more. They don’t just want better versions of the snacks they already enjoy ⁠— they are also looking for new products from manufacturers that offer healthier options.

They’re not only concerned about sugar — they’re worried about the type of sugar that’s hiding in their favorite treats. In recent years, many consumers have turned away from confections made with high-fructose corn syrup in favor of snacks made with regular corn syrup and natural sweeteners, like honey or agave. Consumers have voiced their concerns about food products made with additives like:

  • Artificial colors and flavors
  • Pesticides
  • Preservatives
  • Growth hormones
  • Bioengineered (BE) or Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Antibiotics
  • Gluten

Shoppers aren’t only demanding that their snack food be free of specific ingredients ⁠— they also want their confectionery and snacking options to do more for them. Current trends show that consumers are replacing  meals with more frequent, better for you snacking occasions.  As a manufacturer, we are innovating a variety of healthy snack choices to deliver an energy boost for today’s on-the-go consumer.   The key is to deliver a delicious tasting, better for you snack.

As the demand for more healthy snacking has increased, specific trends have gained popularity among mainstream consumers. More and more consumers began following specialized diets, so manufacturers had to develop natural snacks that fit the trends. The most popular clean eating trends include reduced or no added sugar; simple and clean ingredient statements; and plant based protein foods.

Organic and Non-GMO Ingredients

For the USDA to certify and label a product as “organic,” it must be:

  • Produced without genetic engineering, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge. GMOs fall under the category of genetically engineered, so any product made with GMOs is not organic.
  • Produced only with ingredients on the USDA list of allowed substances
  • Produced without ingredients on the USDA list of prohibited substances
  • Inspected and approved by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent

At Warrell Creations we are willing to develop and produce non GMO and organic snacks for our customers.


The paleo diet is a common trend that mimics the diet of prehistoric humans. Followers of this lifestyle believe humans’ digestive systems aren’t compatible with modern foods ⁠— so they only eat foods that would have been available to humans before farming began, about 10,000 years ago. The paleo diet consists of lean meats, fruit, vegetables and seeds, among other things. Clinical trials have found the paleo diet offers some health benefits to its users, including:

  • Weight loss
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better appetite management
  • Decreased levels of triglycerides

Paleo snack manufacturing comes with its fair share of challenges. While you’ll be able to use fruits, nuts and seeds, you might have a difficult time avoiding the use of dairy, grains and refined sugar.


Keto is a trend that promotes a high-fat diet. Proponents claim your diet should be about 70% to 80% healthy fats, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. The followers of the diet believe that, since fat doesn’t increase your insulin levels, you stop storing fat and burn it instead. Many people insist the keto diet will:

  • Reduce body fat
  • Speed up your metabolism
  • Increase muscle mass
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease

While some trials have determined the keto diet is beneficial for some people, it doesn’t work for everyone. The regimen typically works better for people who are obese or have Type 2 diabetes, while thinner people tend to have adverse effects or see no difference at all.

For keto snack manufacturing, you’ll have to create a high-fat product with a low protein and carb content. You’ll have no issue including ingredients like nuts, cheese, berries and dark chocolate. However, you won’t be able to include any grains, high-sugar fruits, honey or sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup.


The gluten-free diet likely started when consumers gained awareness of celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which the ingestion of gluten causes damage to the small intestine. For people living with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is necessary to go about their daily lives. However, mainstream consumers turned this medically necessary way of eating into a diet that cuts out gluten completely. Followers of the gluten-free diet can’t eat wheat-based foods like pasta, bread and crackers.

Some people who don’t have celiac disease might experience bloating or abdominal pain when they eat gluten, meaning they have a sensitivity to the ingredient, instead of a disease. For these people, a gluten-free diet can help them avoid a lot of discomfort. However, if you don’t have any adverse reactions to gluten, there’s no evidence a gluten-free diet is beneficial to people’s health.

When designing a snack or candy recipe, it’s easy to avoid any gluten products. The most common snack ingredient that contains gluten is wheat, which you can easily substitute with rice, quinoa, chia or flax seeds.


Similar to the gluten-free diet, the dairy-free diet also began with consumers who are allergic or intolerant to lactose. One study found about 70% of adults have some degree of intolerance to lactose. If you’re looking to manufacture a snack or candy without dairy, you can use “milk” from other plant-based products, like rice, oats, hemp, flax and cashew.


One of the most restrictive and fastest-growing dietary trends is the vegan diet. Vegans do not eat any animal products or byproducts, including meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey. Strict vegans also apply their dietary restrictions to other products, such as leather, silk, wool or any cosmetics derived from animal products. There are many reasons the vegan diet appeals to people. Some people choose to go vegan because it is cruelty-free, while others go vegan because they believe it will benefit their health and the environment.

To manufacture a vegan product, you have to avoid using any products that come from animals. Your primary ingredients will be grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts.

The Clean Eating Movement and Its Impact on Snack Manufacturing

The clean eating movement has been around for a long time, but has recently gained significant momentum. The trend encourages people to eat more whole foods, fresh produce and fewer processed foods. While there are several ways to “process” foods, the various methods remove most of the essential nutrients we need to have a balanced diet.

This rise in consumer awareness is making a massive impact on snack manufacturing. Many producers are either redesigning their old snack and confectionery recipes to align with the clean eating movement, or introducing a new line of products with natural, simple ingredients. The use of natural ingredients in snack manufacturing has become an industry standard. To make sure your candy and snack product keeps up with the current clean-eating trends, you’ll have to identify what they are and why people follow them.

The Demand for Natural and Cleaner Ingredients

Thanks to the clean eating movement, candy and snack manufacturing companies are using real food and simple ingredients like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. However, adding natural or “clean” ingredients isn’t the only change they’ve made. Some companies are also removing or swapping processed ingredients.

The most common processed ingredient manufacturers are getting rid of is high-fructose corn syrup. Food manufacturers primarily use it in snacks and candy to add sweetness, although it also adds moisture and prevents sugar crystals from forming. Ingesting too much high fructose corn syrup links directly to higher levels of obesity and other related health problems. Some natural alternatives and artificial sweeteners are:

  • Raw sugar
  • Tapioca syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • Corn Syrup
  • Molasses

Another ingredient manufacturers are doing away with is hydrogenated oil, or trans fat, which are common ingredients in snacks and candy to cuts costs of production and increase the shelf life of the product. Many doctors consider hydrogenated oils to be the worst types of fat a person can ingest, since they both lower HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and raise the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Some alternatives to trans fats are:

  • Palm oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oil
  • Shortening

Organic and Non-GMO Snacks

As we previously discussed, organic foods contain no GMOs and must earn USDA certification. More and more consumers are looking to buy snacks that have the USDA organic certification, thus forcing manufacturers to hold themselves to a higher standard if they want to compete in the market. While organic foods tend to be more expensive, most consumers are willing to pay a premium price for a premium product.

Organic products are in such high demand that farmers are struggling to keep up, especially since organic farms make up less than 1% of America’s farmland. To stay on top of the public desire for organic foods, the U.S. would have to dedicate about 3 to 6% of our farmland to organic production.

The demand for natural, organic food will only continue to rise, especially as the cost of production goes down. To stay ahead of the trend, snack manufacturers and companies will need to make sure they offer organic options.


Lower Sugar Candy and Snacks

Today, most Americans are aware of the dangers of too much sugar in their diet and try their best to limit their intake. As a result, manufacturers must keep up with the demand by offering more low- or no-sugar snack options. One option for limiting the amount of sugar in your products is substituting it with a more natural sweetener, like raw sugar, honey or agave nectar. Another option is to cut out added sugar altogether and allow the natural flavor of the ingredients to shine through.

Higher-Protein Snacks/Bars

High-protein snacks and bars have also increased in popularity recently. Most consumers use them as a quick, convenient way to get a boost of energy and reduce hunger. They are also common choices for people who are too busy to cook or people who exercise regularly.

Many protein bars contain highly processed ingredients like soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup and many more. As a result, many protein bars are not non-GMO or organic. To create a better protein bar that follows the trends of the clean movement, some manufacturers have successfully used foods that naturally contain high levels of protein, including:

  • Almonds
  • Oats
  • Yogurt
  • Quinoa
  • Organic whey protein
  • Beans
  • Pumpkin seeds

Warrell Creations Specializes in Better-For-You Confectionery and Snack Manufacturing

For more than five decades, Warrell Creations has used high-quality ingredients in making clean confectionery and snack products. However, in recent years, we’ve concentrated on producing “better-for-you” products. Whether you want to bring new products like high-protein snacks to market or transform your current offerings into healthier options, we can help.

Our research and development team has many years of experience in the field, creating reduced sugar confectionery products in addition to all-natural and high-protein snacks. Our talented team members have helped small, medium and large brands bring healthier confectionery options to market, and we can help you do the same.

If your brand has a new concept for a “better-for-you,” reduced-sugar or higher-protein product, our research and development team has the experience and expertise to create a recipe for the type of confection or snack that you want us to produce.  If you have an existing formula that you want to make healthier, our team will tweak your recipe and test the results to ensure they meet your precise standards, as well as ours.

Contact Warrell Creations Today!

Since 1965, Warrell Creations has been creating confectionery products with the highest-quality ingredients, techniques and equipment. We believe in creating a mutually beneficial relationship with each of our clients. We are capable of manufacturing and packaging large quantities of products, keeping costs low and productivity high. Over the past half-century, we’ve mastered six core confectionery processes:

To learn more about our capabilities to bring your healthier confectionery manufacturing ideas to life, contact Warrell Creations online or via phone today.

Available Food Certifications

USDA Organic Kosher logo Non-GMO Verified gluten free certified vergan logo Fair trade certified Halal certified Certified sustainable

Certified by NSF International to the FSSC22000 Standard, a recognized GFSI Standard.