Snacks are a significant part of people’s diets all over the world and one of the most important segments of the growing food industry. The rapid expansion of these products along with the increased demand for customized products has guaranteed innovative investment in the processing and packaging of popular foods. Over time, the snack industry has become the safest, most sustainable, and growing business in the world. This has created good opportunities for all people involved in this industry, from producers to even consumers, and also made experts focus on the production of high-quality products with increased nutritional values, health-conscious foods, and more functional in terms of taste, aroma, and easy-to-use packaging.
Each food processing and packaging company may use a specific operating unit and kind of different technologies to produce unique, innovative, and consumer-based snacks. Manufacturers mainly use three main categories to identify the snacks types:
First-generation snacks: This is considered the simplest category of snacks in which natural products such as nuts, potatoes, and corn are used in processing. These snacks are produced from roasted corn, peanuts, nuts, dehydrated fruits, and other relevant items.
Second-generation snacks: Most of the snacks are in the second-generation category, which includes:
Third-generation snacks: Pellets or snacks made from extruded and flavored balls are in this category. Such snacks are processed using several ingredients and through an extrusion cooking method.
A wide range of snacks is prepared and distributed to the market based on the two main ingredients of potato and corn such as chips, popcorn, different types of snacks, etc. Potato is one of the most widely consumed food in the world, which can be used to prepare a variety of food products. In every country, various kinds of snacks are produced in different flavors using potatoes. Corn is also widely used in the food and snack industry. The products made from these two ingredients go through different production processes. Since oil and frying methods are used in the production process of potato-based snacks, they usually have more calories than corn-based snacks that are prepared by extruding method and without using oil. Corn-based products also contain higher amounts of fiber and protein, but less potassium compared to potato-based products. In recent years, food consumers have preferred low-carbohydrate diets, so both old and new food processing companies are producing new corn and potato-based snacks with less fat and salt.
With the increase in demand and consumption of potato and corn-based snacks at parties, etc., the food processing and packaging industries based on these two ingredients are moving towards newer and bigger packages all around the world.
The popularity and preference of snacks are increasing due to their taste, convenience, and changing eating habits, allowing consumers to choose between products with nutritional value and different ingredients. Considering the public demand for improving lifestyle and using healthier foods, the ready-to-eat foods and snack industry has taken a new approach to develop nutritious and healthy products.