Healthiness and naturalness in snacking products

Snackification has become a powerful and solid trend in the food market. Over years, snack consumption has increased and boundaries between snacks and meals have blurred. Simultaneously, consumers have become more aware of their own and the planet’s health, resulting in a high demand for healthy and natural food products. To meet this consumer demand, (snack) food manufacturers are driven to (re)formulate their products towards healthier and more natural products while maintaining a good taste.

Aim and approach
This project will focus on gaining a better understanding of healthiness and naturalness in the formulation of snacking products – foods that are often considered (ultra)processed. The Nutri-Score1 is a credible tool to assess the nutritional quality of products, whereas the degree of naturalness will be measured with the novel and validated Food Naturalness Index (FNI)2. The holistic nature of this study will allow for clarification of three dimensions (nutritional quality, food naturalness and degree of processing) that are often misunderstood or confused by the consumer and media.

1. Julia, C., Etilé, F., & Hercberg, S. (2018). Front-of-pack Nutri-Score labelling in France: an evidence-based policy. Lancet Public Health, 3(4), e164.

2. Sanchez-Siles, L. M., Michel, F., Román, S., Bernal, M. J., Philipsen, B., Haro, J. F., ... & Siegrist, M. (2019). The Food Naturalness Index (FNI): An integrative tool to measure the degree of food naturalness. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 91, 681-690.