Emotions and food have always been linked, but now snacks in particular are being used to change how the eater feels in a more targeted and conscientious way. 80% of global consumers look to snacks to improve their emotional health, according to Mondelez International’s annual State of Snacking report released in January this year. Innovative companies are tapping into consumers’ emotional needs by launching products that aim to improve their moods.

Promising to reduce consumers’ stress levels, Israeli food tech company myAir’s snack bars launched in January 2022. Before purchasing, buyers take a quiz to determine their individual stress level and type and are then recommended a personalized snack bar regime. Bars include ‘super-plants’ like ginseng, cranberries, and passion flower and are color-coded with names like Focused Yellow and Calm Green.

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Ireland-based Unwind launched snack bars in February 2021 that help eaters bring a sense of calm and relaxation to the end of their day. Meant to be eaten as a bedtime snack, Unwind Bars are made with chamomile, Montmorency cherry and l-theanine to promote a better night’s sleep. Alongside their food products, Unwind has a content series called Relax Hacks which includes yoga, meditation and even sleep stories to help users further wind down.

US-based Smpl released their mood enhancing snacks in October 2021. The snack bar range includes Energy Bar, Focus Bar, Immunity Bar and Calm Bar and features ingredients like lemon balm extract and elderberry.

Emotional diets are a burgeoning trend as Aisha Chottani, founder of Moment, a functional beverage company, tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, “A lot of people—celebrities, influencers—are now starting to talk about their mental health and what they’ve gone through, so now there is this dialogue that I feel is going to prompt people to start incorporating more functional ingredients [into their diets].” With many people already looking to snacks to give them a happy boost, snack brands are honing the emotional benefits of their food products.

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