Millennials are Ditching the Pantry for the Fridge with Fresh Snacking on the Rise, according to new Mintel Report: ‘The Future of Fresh’

New data from global market intelligence agency Mintel spotlights the developments and future outlook of the refrigerated-CPG space, now labeled “Fresh Snacking,” in its report: The Future of Fresh. Sponsored by Perfect Bar, LLC (, makers of The Original Refrigerated Protein Bar, and independently researched and written by Mintel in collaboration with SPINS, the report quantifies the impact and implications of “Fresh” in CPG, e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail, as well as illuminates the immense opportunities that lie ahead.

Mintel data showcases that younger consumers have driven the demand for fresher options, with “Is fresh” being the #1 purchase driver for Millennials (aged 23 – 40) and the iGeneration (aged 11 – 22), when shopping for food. This demand has impacted the food landscape over the last three years, with the $40B “Conventional Snacking” market declining 2% annually, while “Health & Wellness Snacking” grew 6% annually, driven by outsized growth from “Fresh Snacking,” which grew 8% annually.

It is estimated that consumer interest in Fresh Snacking began in 2005, when smaller brands created the category by experimenting with formats, incorporating whole-food ingredients, and advancing packaging to increase portability and convenience. The market began accelerating in 2008, with the percentage of new, Fresh-Snacking product launches in the U.S. increasing by about four times, between 2008 and 2016 (SPINS data).

Perfect Bar was an anchor brand in 2005, introducing the first-of-its-kind refrigerated protein bar to retail. While it carved out preliminary space for Fresh Snacks in the fridge set, Perfect Bar was challenged to keep up with the velocities of everyday items, such as milk and eggs.

“Since being a pioneer of the Fresh set more than a decade ago, we’ve watched as consumers’ adoption of a ‘fresher-is-better’ mindset has driven more brands to the perimeter of the store and, in turn, shifted the retail layout to focus on making the fridge set a prominent shopping destination,” said Bill Keith, founder and CEO of Perfect Bar. “With the fresh perimeter growing at a rate of 2.1x the center of the store, we are able to validate the viability of ‘Fresh’ as a continued focus for our retail partners across the Nation.”

Consumers’ demand for “Fresh” has generated an omnichannel macro trend, but inefficiencies in the e-commerce cold-supply chain have prompted traditional retailers to capitalize on consumers’ desire to buy “Fresh” in brick-and-mortar stores, as they place importance on quality, price and impulse purchases.

“The insights from Mintel further validate the opportunity that lies ahead for Fresh Snacking, and we plan to continue delivering tasty, nutritious products that set the bar for what consumers expect in the Fresh Set,” said Keith.

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