A move towards healthy indulgence

* 5 min read

As consumers demand healthier more diverse options, gluten-free, dairy free and vegan alternatives are becoming the norm. With today’s "betterment" consumer trend, people are wanting to indulge while still maintaining a “healthy” lifestyle. Typically, we assume that desserts are packed with three flavour enhancers, sugar, salt and fat. Which can be attributed to the number one source of weight gain. Of course, if consumed as part of a balanced diet the majority of consumers agree that the odd treat now and again is absolutely justifiable.

A recent Mintel survey reports that: “41% of UK snacking consumers agree that unhealthy snacks such as those high in sugar or salt are fine as part of a balanced diet”.

Our understanding of ‘health’ has evolved to something far more complex, making every consumer their own personal health advisor. Many consumers are creating personalised diets that also prioritise consuming sufficient protein, staying hydrated, and allowing themselves the occasional treat. We’re increasingly picking and choosing the rules that work best for us, whether that be clean eating, ‘flexitarianism’ or high protein snacking to support our fitness goals. And it’s not just about physical health.

In a time-poor economy, health is about more than just food; it’s about convenience, indulgence, mental health and me time. And when all those factors are thrown into the mix, we’re willing to compromise on being healthy for being healthier, as we take a more holistic view of our lifestyles. ‘Self-care’ is becoming a major focus, as we try to escape stress and negativity in the wider world around us to enjoy treats or satisfy cravings is a basic aspect of self-care that particularly addresses the common need for stress relief.

“While consumers strive to live healthier lifstyles, strong engagement in the category suggests that there is still room for indulgence”
Mintel Ice Cream and Frozen Novelties 2018

McVitie’s are a great example of creating a favourite treat in a slightly healthier format and are number 4 in the Kantar Worldpanel Innovation rankings.

They developed McVitie’s chocolate-covered Digestive Thins which only contain 31 calories compared to the standard biscuit of 86 calories. This permissible treat comes with a premium price tag and a wider audience reach, attracting new, younger customers. It’s a win-win situation, resulting in the total McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives range being bought by over half the population in 2017.

Focusing on healthier desserts, nutrition plays an integral role, in today’s consumer dessert choices and now more than ever more options are being created to meet these demands.

It's all about the protein

Protein remains one of the biggest food trends out there, in recent years there has been a greater emphasis on communicating protein’s health claims beyond muscle health, such as:

  • Boosting your immune system
  • Increasing metabolism
  • Promoting healthy brain function
  • Helping maintain strong bones
  • Slowing ageing and promote longevity
  • Protecting heart health

With this whole raft of benefits, it’s no wonder brands and retailers are jumping on board with protein lead initiatives, that appeal to consumers wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The brand Pulsin have protein as part of their mantra, set up by three university friends that have the shared view that all people, of all ages, should be able to eat healthy foods without compromising on taste. From raw chocolate brownies to fruity oat bars, they provide a great way to increase your protein intake and enjoy some guilt-free snacking.

Rising consumer demand for healthier food has resulted in the growth of the protein segment. The global demand for protein was around 4,500 kilotons in 2015 and is expected to reach over 8,000 kilotons by 2025, growing 6.2% from 2016 to 2025, this is a trend that certainly isn’t going anywhere too soon. Mixing it up It can sometimes be a challenge to fit in your 5 a day dosage of fruit and veg, wouldn’t it be easier to sneak in vegetables into some of our favourite desserts and treats.

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Mixing it up

It can sometimes be a challenge to fit in your 5 a day dosage of fruit and veg, wouldn’t it be easier to sneak in vegetables into some of our favourite desserts and treats.

Jessica Levison, owner of Serendipity Creamery & Yogurt Café in Miami Florida asked herself “Wouldn’t it be rad if veggies tasted like ice cream?”. From this, she created Peekaboo, which infuses ‘hidden’ vegetables to make it easier to get some greens into your diet. Remarkably you can’t see or taste the veggies but they are just as powerful in delivering their health benefits. The brand currently features five flavours: cotton candy with beets, strawberry with carrots, mint chip with spinach, chocolate with cauliflower, and vanilla with zucchini, all geared to making that indulgent taste just a bit more healthy.

all flavors ORGANIC


Mini desserts have been increasing in popularity each year since 2005. Research suggests that smaller pieces of food are more rewarding and lead to a greater feeling of fullness than one large piece of food with equal energy values. The minis allow us to enjoy a sweet treat while watching our weight and help restaurants be more economical by reducing food waste.

Brownies, cookies and cupcakes are still the most common miniatures out there, but more and more brands are getting involved. If we take a look at the iconic brand Haagen-Dazs, it has introduced a range of mini-cups and mini variety packs for portion-controlled treats, just another way that brands are tapping into consumers' healthier lifestyles.