Anything can be a snack as we become a nation of snack grazers

How often do you snack? Do you find yourself snacking more than you used to?

If so, you’re in good company.

Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, shows that though snack consumption has been on the rise since 2012, the last two years have marked a particularly notable growth; 83% of consumers in 2016 compared with 76% in 2014 are snacking on a daily basis.

The ways that consumers snack are changing too. More consumers now than in 2014 are eating snacks between their three daily meals, and are shifting away from skipping or replacing meals with snacks. The growth in snacking is due to increasingly busy lifestyles, the rise of smaller households (that allow for more flexibility around meal times and sizes) and the increasingly widespread notion of snacks as part of a healthful diet.

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Base: 1,500. Source: Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report

The study shows that as snacking becomes an even more ingrained part of everyday life, consumers will increasingly seek out anything that will fit their snacking needs, particularly healthful snacks to fuel their busy lifestyles. In fact, the majority of consumers in the snacking study (71%) now define snacks as any item consumed during non-traditional meal hours. This means that operators and suppliers should evaluate which needstates their current offerings could fulfill if offered in snack form, and see where they can grow sales via snacks.

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Maia Chang

Maia Chang is a Research Analyst at Technomic, Inc. in Chicago. She works on the firm’s Consumer Trend Reports, a series of annual studies that provides operators and suppliers with a comprehensive guide to the menu and consumer trends impacting various restaurant segments and menu categories in the U.S., Canada and U.K.

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