Sleep, snacks and shift work: the magic midnight snack

If you’re one of Australia’s 1.4 million shiftworkers, eating at irregular times is just par for the course – but have you ever stopped to think about the impact this might have on your body?

In a new research study by the University of South Australia, researchers have investigated whether altering food intake during the nightshift could optimise how shiftworkers feel during the night and reduce their sleepiness.

Testing the impact of either a snack, a meal, or no food at all, the study found that a simple snack was the best choice for maximising alertness and productivity.

Lead researcher and UniSA PhD candidate Charlotte Gupta says the finding has the potential to help thousands of shiftworkers who work during the night.

“In today’s 24/7 economy, working the nightshift is increasingly common, with many industries – health care, aviation, transport and mining – requiring employees to work around the clock,” Gupta says.

“As a nightshift worker, finding ways to manage your alertness when your body is naturally primed for sleep can be really challenging.

“We know that many nightshift workers eat on-shift to help them stay awake, but until now, no research has shown whether this is good or bad for their health and performance.

“This is the first study to investigate how workers feel and perform after eating different amounts of food.

“The findings will inform the most strategic eating patterns on-shift and can hopefully contribute to more alert and better performing workers.”

In Australia, of the 1.4 million shiftworkers, 15 per cent (or over 200,000) regularly work a night or evening shift. Working at night-time conflicts with a person’s internal circadian clock, making it harder to stay focused and awake. Managing fatigue is therefore critical for workplace health and safety.

Over a seven-day simulated shiftwork protocol, the study assessed the impact of three eating conditions (a meal comprising 30 per cent of energy intake over a 24-hour period (for example, a sandwich, muesli bar, and apple); a snack comprising 10 percent of energy intake (for example, just the muesli bar and apple); and no food intake at all) each consumed at 12:30 am. The 44 participants were randomly split into the three test-conditions and were asked to report on their levels of hunger, gut reaction and sleepiness.

The results showed that while all participants reported increased sleepiness and fatigue, and decreased vigour across the nightshift, consuming a snack reduces the impact of these feelings more so than a meal or no food at all. The snack group also reported having no uncomfortable feelings of fullness as noted by the meal group.

Gupta says the next step in the research is to investigate the different types of snacks and how they affect shiftworkers differently.

“Now that we know that consuming a snack on nightshift will optimise your alertness and performance without any adverse effects, we’re keen to delve more into the types of snacks shiftworkers are eating,” Gupta says.

“Lots of shiftworkers snack multiple times over a nightshift, and understanding the different macronutrient balances is important, especially as many report consuming foods high in fat, such as chips, chocolate and fast foods.

“We’re keen to assess how people feel and perform after a healthy snack versus a less-healthy, but potentially more satisfying snack like chocolate or lollies.

“Ultimately, the goal is to help Australian shiftworkers on the nightshift to stay alert, be safe, and feel healthy.”

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Cobs Popcorn releases new flavour

Cobs Popcorn has released a new flavour to pay homage to the bustling metropolis and legends of the famous American city, Chicago.

Featuring a blend of sweet, buttery caramel and extra tasty cheddar cheese popcorn, this eclectic mix of popcorn delivers on a big city taste.

The caramel popcorn is created with raw and brown sugar together with brown rice syrup and fresh butter. A splash of pure vanilla adds a sweet, creamy taste.

The cheddar cheese flavour is seasoned with a cheddar cheese recipe, providing a big cheese taste for the serious cheese lover.

This new flavour was introduced to satisfy people looking for a unique flavor combination, and reflects Australia’s changing palette.

Cobs Chicago Mix is gluten free and made with natural ingredients, and joins Cobs favourites like Lightly Salted, Slightly Sweet, Sea Salt, and Aged White Cheddar.


Cob’ Hip Chips range

From the company behind Cobs Popcorn, comes a new range for those who give a chip about great taste, Cobs Hip Chips.

Set to introduce their take on a classic potato chip with a completely new twist, Cobs’ range of Hip Chips are made from potato, rice and corn, and have just landed at 7-Eleven stores nationally.

Hip Chips are produced using a unique, heat expansion process: Cobs has added just the right amount of sunflower oil, and premium seasonings made from the finest natural ingredients. The result is a tasty, top quality chip that provides a satisfying, high-crunch snacking experience.

7-Eleven stores have picked up two of the delicious flavours, including:

Tomato, Cheese And Olive: With the tang of tomato and olive, mixed with the richness of cheese, this flavour will make you feel as if your sailing away on the Mediterranean!

Sweet Chili And Sour Cream: The creaminess of sour cream combined with the sweetness of chilli, and just a hint of spice, will leave your tastebuds tingling!

Two additional flavours, Smokey Chipotle And Beetroot, and Salt of the Sea are also available from independent grocers.

The new range of Hip Chips pack an intense flavor, and with a light but crunch texture, they’re simply not like regular chips. They’re healthy and light, but offer an absolute taste explosion.

One of the key features of the Cobs range is that there are no secrets when it comes to the ingredients used to create their unique flavours.

Sunbites releases new Grainy Funbites range

Sunbites is kicking off 2017 with the launch of its new Grainy Funbites range, a baked, not fried, treat made with 65 per cent wholegrain and no artificial colours or flavours.

Sunbites is always looking to craft new flavour sensations for Australians. The Grainy Funbites range delivers this right in time for the ‘back-to-school’ season, providing a great tasting better-for-you savoury snack, full of wholegrain, for the lunchbox.

Tami Cunningham, Marketing Director, PepsiCo Australia & New Zealand said, “Sunbites Grainy Funbites reflect PepsiCo ANZ’s commitment to developing innovative products that make lunchbox shopping easy for mums.”

Sunbites Grainy Funbites are available in three exciting flavours: Cheese; Pizza and Sour Cream and Chives.

The new range of snacks will be available nationally in Woolworths’ stores and independent grocery outlets from the 23rd of January 2017.

The Grainy Funbites’ launch marks the first phase in an exciting year of growth for Sunbites, with other initiatives set to be announced in the coming months.

Kellogg launches healthier LCMs

LCMs has just launched the new 3.5 health star Oaty Bubble Bars that have 25 per cent less sugar per 100g than LCMs Original bars, as families prepare to get back into the school routine and the inevitable lunchbox packing.

Across the school year in 2017, over 500 million school lunches will be packed in Australia’s 2 million plus households (with children aged 0-17).

That’s a lot of lunchbox inspiration parents need as they endeavour to make sure that snacks and meals don’t come home uneaten, but instead open the school backpack to find an empty lunchbox.

The new bars were tested with Aussie kids who liked them as much as LCMs Original Bars.

The bars come in Original Oats and Strawberry & Apple flavours and contain 37 per cent and 33 per cent whole grain oats respectively. Together with their 3.5 health star rating, a source of fibre and no artificial colours or flavours and no preservatives, it’s a ‘treat’ you don’t have to hide.

Not only do kids love the great LCMs taste, but more than eight out of 10 mums surveyed by Kellogg said they would buy LCMs Oaty Bubble Bars for their children.

Ready to serve, egg based sweet snack

Sunny Queen Australia has launched a ready to serve, egg based sweet snack that has all the indulgence of a sweet treat but with less of the naughtiness.

Sunny Queen Managing Director, John O’Hara, says launching a sweet egg-based range was an exciting next addition to their already popular commercial egg products.

“Innovation is important to Sunny Queen and with more consumers than ever looking for new alternatives to fit their lifestyle, it was a great time to show the true versatility that can come from egg based products,” Mr O’Hara said.

“Eggs are one of the first things that come to mind for breakfast and savoury dishes but we often forget that they are the foundation of many good sweet products too. The result is a satisfying, tasty, home style Sweet Bite – perfect for people of all ages.”

Leading Dietitian, Kate DiPrima, says Sunny Queen’s innovative products are a clever, well considered food option within the current snack market and will provide a fantastic alternative to current menu products.

“Snacks that have a wonderful ‘home cooked’ aroma, just like Sweet Bites, are needed in the current snack market to replace the likes of cupcakes and pastry-heavy menu items,” Ms DiPrima said.

Small enough to create flexibility in serving sizes, Sweet Bites can be enjoyed from morning tea right through to an after dinner treat, making the product very versatile for commercial outlets.

Sweet Bites can be enjoyed either warm or cool, but warm is oh so delicious and the perfect treat to serve with a cup of tea or coffee.

Sunny Queen Meal Solutions’ Sweet Bites range comes in three popular flavours: Double Chocolate and Coconut; Banana and Chocolate; and Apple and Sultana; is gluten free and contains no artificial colours or flavours.

As with all Sunny Queen Meal Solutions products, Sweet Bites are snap frozen, giving them a shelf life of 12 months, and can be heated in a sandwich press, combi or conventional oven, microwave or hot plate.

Sweet Bites are suitable for a range of commercial outlets such as quick service restaurants, aged care, cafes, healthcare and large institutions.

Cobs Hip Chips

From the company behind Australia’s favourite, popcorn brand, Cobs Popcorn, comes a new chip range, Cobs Hip Chips. Made from 100 per cent Australian whole grain corn, potato and rice, Hip Chips are made without using vegetable oil, which often masks the flavour.

Manufacturer: Cobs Fine Foods

Ingredients: Potato Flakes, Rice Flour, Corn Flour, Sugar, Salt, Sunflower Oil – High Oleic, Seasoning (Sugar, Corn starch), Vegetable powders (Tomato, Onion, Garlic), Yeast extracts, Potassium chloride, Natural flavours, Salt, Sour cream powder, Food acids natural

Country of Origin: Australia

Launch Date: 25/11/16

Shelf Life: 9 month

Packaging: Foil Pack


Brownies and lemon drizzle squares

Fibre One Chocolate Fudge Brownies and Lemon Drizzle Squares are tasty snacks that allow you to fill up without filling out.

With just 90 calories per square, the soft-baked squares are also naturally high in fibre (5g per square) and lower in fat. And the best bit is that there’s no compromise on taste. They are as good for you as they are tasty.

You can indulge guilt-free with these brownies. They are high in fibre with chocolate flavour fudge pieces and chocolate flavour drizzle.

And when the afternoon sugar cravings strike, forget the vending machine or lolly jar, liven up your tastebuds with the Lemon Drizzle Squares – high in fibre bars with lemon flavour pieces and lemon flavour drizzle.


Tiger Buck beef jerky targets beer & liquor aficionados

Tiger Buck’s progressive branding and iconic packaging has been influenced by saloon bar games of the American frontier, and traditional playing card design.  These elements combine to create a brand that complements a premium drinking experience and delivers unmatched brand-in-hand exposure.

Tiger Buck is a medium-soft, approachable beef jerky. The signature flavour is its smokey bbq notes, and the more you chew, the more it shines through.  Tiger Buck uses no artificial flavours or colours, and is made from 100 per cent raw, unprocessed Australian Beef. It’s low in fat, it’s a great source of protein, and has also been endorsed by Coeliac Australia as a certified Gluten Free product.

This beef jerky was born of the idea that premium pre-packaged bar-snack options are almost non-existent.  Venues and retailers focus endlessly on constructing wine-lists, beer-lists, and back-bars, with snack options almost always forgotten.  A premium bar-snack can be an important addition to a customer offering, often leading to an increased spend-per-head on drinks.

The beef jerky will be available at bars and retailers across Australia in November 2016- Melbourne stockists include: The Beaufort, Stomping Ground, The Local Taphouse, Boilermaker House and Less Than Zero.

Creator, Benjamin Cairns has worked across local and global liquor brands for over 15 years.  He is currently also part of the Melbourne-based East 9th Brewing Co.  The lack of quality ‘drinking snacks’ at bars and liquor retailers drove him to create the Tiger Buck brand.

Summer snacking made easy

Funch’s range of premixes has done to healthy snacks what the cake mix did to baking cakes.

The company is now offering their Funch Staples which include all the additional, individual ingredients required to make their protein balls, bars and slices, packaged in convenient, pre-weighed pouches.

Maintaining the focus on quality was critical when sourcing the ingredients, all of which are premium grade, and free of additives and preservatives.

The new products include organic Rice Malt Syrup, raw organic cold-pressed Coconut Oil and fresh, premium-grade Medjool Dates.

The range includes:

  • Protein Balls: Salted Caramel, Vanilla & Coconut (gluten free), Cacao & Chia, Matcha & Cacao, Almond & Cacao (gluten free), Turmeric, Ginger & Lemon Paleo Ball (gluten free)
  • No Bake Superfood Slice; Almond, Coconut & Cacao (gluten free)
  • Superfood Muesli Bar; Coconut, Cacao & Chia
  • Staple Ingredients; Rice Malt Syrup, Coconut Oil, Medjool Dates

Bounce Bites

It can be tricky to satisfy sweet cravings without delving too far into the land of the unhealthy, so Bounce is back with their brand new Bounce Bites – the natural and convenient way to get your sweet fix.

Available in three new flavours, these little nuggets are gluten free, GMO free, vegetarian friendly and cold pressed, the perfect alternative to processed, sugary confectionary.

The simple Australian-made recipe contains high quality natural ingredients without artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or refined sugar. Available in convenient resealable pouches, Bounce Bites are great for snacking throughout the day and can also be easily shared with family and friends.

Available in three flavours:

  • Blueberry Banana Bliss
  • Coconut Almond Kiss
  • Coconut Cacao Delight

Perfect for grabbing on the go, packing for a lunch box or desk draw snack, or saving for an after dinner treat.

Millennials shunning ‘Three Regular Meals a Day’, says report

Over a third of consumers globally say they snack regularly, with the figure rising to just over 40 per cent for young people aged 18-34, as the practice of modular eating becomes more accepted as an alternative to eating three main meals a day, according to consumer insight firm Canadean.

The company’s latest report finds that consumers snack for a variety of reasons such as the functional need for an energy or nutritional boost, the psychological need to de-stress or indulge, and needs dictated by occasion, such as watching a movie, attending a sporting event, or socializing with friends.

As more consumers turn to snacks to fulfill a wide range of needs and occasions every day, the potential opportunities for snacking brands are enormous right across the health-indulgence and sweet-savoury spectrums.

Katrina Diamonon, Principal Consumer Insight at Canadean, explains: “While it is important for brands to acknowledge and address the snacking needs of all consumers, it is particularly crucial to understand the motivations of younger consumers. Not only are they more frequent snackers, but their purchase behaviours and preferences will strongly influence other current consumers and also subsequent generations as they pass on these traits to their children.”


Canadean finds that a range of rational and emotional needs beside hunger can be addressed through snacking, and these reasons differ according to age. As millennials tend to prioritize meat in their diets more highly than their older counterparts due to its perceived health benefits, manufacturers should capitalize on the meat snack segment and explore new opportunities.

Diamonon continues: “Manufacturers are increasingly experimenting with a range of proteins, formats, and gourmet flavors to elevate consumption from convenience-store snacks to an exciting taste experience and even credible meal replacement. Improved sourcing transparency and ethical production of such offerings is also enhancing premium credentials.”

This Easter, Bunnies are out but Bilbies are in

Australian sweet specialists, Fyna Foods, is encouraging Aussies to ‘ban bunnies’ and instead support native wildlife this Easter, unveiling a newly refreshed Australian Bush Friends chocolate range in partnership with the Save the Bilby Fund.

For the fourth year running, the partnership will see up to 30 cents from the sale of each specially-marked Australian Bush Friends pack going to the country’s most iconic endangered marsupial, the Bilby, with potentially as few as 400 – 600 left in Queensland, where Save the Bilby Fund focuses its work.

The much-needed funds raised will continue to contribute to ongoing conservation efforts to prevent extinction, including support for the population of captive-bred Bilbies, relevant academic research, and expansion and support of the national recovery program.

According to Fyna Foods CEO, Gillian Powell: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Save the Bilby Fund and believe the launch of our newly rebranded Australian Bush Friends range will help to bring the focus back to Australian wildlife this Easter, whilst providing a year-round awareness about the importance of protecting this endangered native animal.”

The new range will introduce ‘The Gang’ of five unique edible characters: Billy the Bilby, Chrissy the Koala, Anna the Kanga, Tom the Frog and Terry the Tasmanian Devil.

“As an Australian-owned company, this cause really resonates with Fyna Foods. We raised over $33,000 last year and are dedicated to raising the bar even higher in 2016,” Powell said.

Save the Bilby Fund CEO, Kevin Bradley, said: “It is wonderful to once again have the support of Fyna Foods to help ensure this unique and iconic Australian animal lives on by putting our precious wildlife at the front of mind, not only at Easter, but every day of the year. We are determined to see our Bilbies remain for future generations.”

Pic’s Peanut Butter

Product Name: Pic's Peanut Butter

Product Manufacturer: Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter

Launch date: 28 February 2016

Ingredients: 100% Runner Australian Peanuts, pinch of New Zealand sea salt

Shelf Life: 18 months

Packaging: Jar

Country of origin: New Zealand

Brand Website:

Description: Pic’s Peanut Butter is more than a really good peanut butter company. Using 100% Australian nuts, the New Zealand family run business is internationally recognised for its premium, all natural products and strives to be the worlds most loved peanut butter. Pic’s Peanut Butter is made from freshly roasted Australian peanuts and a pinch of salt, and nothing else, and brags a Five Star Australian Health Rating for its incredible nutritional benefits.

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