We asked Whole Foods global grocery buyer Jason Krolikowski what snacks are going to be big this back-to-school season. Here's what the smart kids will be packing in their sustainable corn plastic bento boxes this year.
1. Mini bars
Popular bar brands like KIND, LARABAR and RX Bars are rolling out mini versions for kiddos. “We’re seeing a growing number of innovative, kid-centric nutritional bars,” says Krolikowski. In addition to smaller portion sizes, expect lower sugar content and less protein, because kids don't need as much as adults.
2. Japanese-inspired treats
Japanese ingredients were big in the grown-up world last year, and now the craze is making its way into lunch boxes. “Kids are getting in on the trend with roasted seaweed snacks,” says Krolikowski. Watch for wacky flavors of Pocky sticks and mochi (Japanese ice cream), too.
3. Throwback Bites
What’s old is new with better-for-you versions of your favorite childhood snacks like organic fruit rolls and peanut butter sandwich crackers. “Nostalgia plays a big role in school lunches,” Krolikowski says. And remember pudding cups? Expect to see dairy-free versions.
4. Snack pack attack
Prepped and packaged fresh snacks started with the kids and are now transitioning into adult aisles. “Mostly fruit, nut and protein, these packs put a healthier spin on the classics my generation grew up with,” says Krolikowski. Be warned: With the convenience factor comes plenty of packaging.