Pretzel—The Evolving Twist in the Global Snack Market

PretzelStanley Hudson, the fictional character from the American TV series The Office, drags himself to work every day—except on Pretzel Day. Apparently, Stanley likes his snack more than he likes his boss, a trait he, perhaps, shares with many real-life corporate employees today. Pretzel Day, by the way, is a real thing, and it is celebrated every 26th of April by many Americans, especially the “Stanleys” who see to it that they get free pretzels on their way to work.

Before all the fuss about its national day, the pretzel was long known and enjoyed as a staple ballpark snack. It is, after all, a deliciously quick bite that people can easily enjoy while watching a game. This salty snack has also made its way to the streets of New York and other states through food trucks that serve grab-and-go snacks to on-the-go employees. Outside the country, on the other hand, the pretzel is notably growing to be a huge player in the global snack market.

Growing Demand for a Healthy Snack Alternative

International market research firm Technavio expects the global pretzel market to exceed $7 billion by 2020. With an annual growth rate of 3%, that is not impossible. The key driver for this growth is that people across the globe are looking for healthy snacks—and many of them consider pretzels healthier than fries, chips, and other conventional snacks. Although this salty snack is high in sodium, it is considerably low in fat. Plus, the flour used to bake pretzels is often fortified with vitamins, iron, and other essential nutrients. Some new variants of pretzels even contain healthier ingredients, such as multi-grain flour that increases the snack’s fiber content.

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More Varieties and Flavors

Speaking of new variants, many leading pretzel vendors have introduced a multitude of flavors, dips, and twists to the classic soft pretzels. There are now cheddar-stuffed pretzel nuggets, jalapeno-flavored soft pretzels, caramel and mustard dips, and of course, pretzel dogs. Because of their uniqueness and novelty, these varieties have sparked consumer interest not only in America but in other parts of the world, too.

Increasing Number of Franchises and Private Labels

The “Stanleys” are alive and well not only in the US but also across the globe, thanks to the increasing number of pretzel franchises and private labels. Leading brands like Pretzelmaker are opening their doors to more consumers through business franchises in many states in the US, as well as in several countries in Asia and Europe. Private-label pretzel products, on the other hand, have achieved significant growth over the last few years. These products are made by third-party manufacturers but sold under the brand name of local retailers, giving pretzel consumers more options from which to choose.

Indeed, the pretzel has come a long way since the day the Pennsylvania Dutch brought it to American soil in the 1700s. With franchises, private labels, and new and healthy variants, the visibility of pretzels all over the world has increased in the last decade, positively influencing the growth of the international snack market. But interestingly, this also has turned many regular consumers into “Stanleys” of their own country—consumers who may be grumps in the office but with a soft spot for a delicious snack.

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