Why Everything is “Mini” Now

It’s become impossible to ignore how the culture around eating and dieting is changing. For people interested in long-term effects rather than crash diets (which can allow someone to lose weight quickly, but it often doesn’t last), this can mean fundamentally changing their relationship to food. The most significant change usually involves learning how to indulge in moderation – which means that food like donuts can be part of a balanced diet, if it’s just one and not half a dozen.

Smaller versions of consumers’ favorite snacks can play an important role in building this new relationship. Last year, Drake’s launched mini versions of their famous pound cakes, a perfect small dessert for a more balanced packed lunch. Kellogg’s released RXBAR Minis in January, with the president of RXBAR stating that “we’ve found that some consumers want the protein power and quality ingredients found in RXBARs, but with a smaller calorie count.”

This is an indicator that even among shoppers that prioritize nutritional content, calorie counting is still an important part of their food planning. Kellogg’s has also expanded their line of Pop-Tart Bites this year, with each pouch containing only 150 calories – a sharp contrast from the standard full-size Pop-Tart line, with a two-pack containing as many as 400 calories.

These new products can all be helpful tools for snack lovers looking to make substantial lifestyle changes. However, since consumers have been stuck at home during the quarantine, there has been another phenomenon that has inspired people to think small.

People are now “baking more than ever” according to a spokesperson from Red Star Yeast, and they’ve been sharing their creations across social media – including on TikTok, a popular platform for posting short videos. Whereas recipes for miniature treats might have traditionally targeted home cooks interested in controlling their weight, these new TikTok food trends are mainly the domain of young people looking to make something cute and “instagrammable”.

Such recipe videos now exist for teeny-tiny cookies, pancakes, and croissants, with many people turning them into homemade cereal. Yahoo News has referred to the trend as “the surprising thrill of tedious DIYs,” and it satisfies several needs for pandemic chefs: it’s a time-consuming project in a moment where many young people are increasingly bored, it’s tasty, and it’s visually appealing for social media.

Post has already been way ahead of this trend, as they launched cereal-sized versions of popular Hostess snacks – including Twinkies – in 2019. But with this homemade cereal trend taking over consumers’ online accounts, it could open the door for other brands to cash in. After all, it would be far from the first time that social media had influenced decision makers within the world of food and beverages. Understanding what makes food content shareable is important for brands that intend to lean on social media for word-of-mouth marketing.

Small food is huge right now, but for brands looking to be part of the trend, they need to have a good sense of how they can maximize its benefits. RXBAR is probably the best example of a brand that makes the most of what it has; the miniature variety offers a lower calorie option, and the brand managed to become a force in the industry in the first place after they redesigned their packaging to be more social media-friendly. This is just one example in a long line of trends that are more complex than they initially seem, and brand leaders should understand their many faces and angles in order to best connect with consumers.

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