Lunch was the most common meal to be replaced by a snack, as noted by three-quarters of respondents to Progressive Grocer’s survey. However, breakfast was the second most-common meal to be replaced, with 37 percent of consumers indicating that they replaced the first meal of the day with a snack, followed by dinner, at 30 percent.
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More than half (56 percent) of consumers who responded to the Progressive Grocer survey indicated that they purchase nutritional bars, including granola bars, as their snack of choice. According to Chicago-based IRI, snack/granola bars hit $5.28 billion in sales for the 52 weeks ending May 20, an increase of 2.7 percent compared with the previous year.
When it comes to breakfast bars, the second most commonly replaced meal, sales were $1.61 billion, IRI found, with unit sales increasing 2.77 percent from the previous year.
One snack category seeing a lot of growth is ready-to-eat popcorn/caramel corn. That’s not surprising, since many manufacturers are introducing new flavors and varieties. For example, Simply7 has partnered with chef Giada De Laurentiis to introduce a line of artisan popcorn that’s low in calories and fat. Ready-to-eat popcorn sales hit $1.1 billion in sales for the 52 weeks ended May 20, according to IRI — an increase of 4.5 percent compared with the previous year. Unit sales also saw an increase of 4.3 percent over the previous year.
In Progressive Grocer’s survey, more than half (58 percent) of consumers indicated that they purchase popcorn, with more women (62 percent) buying than men (54 percent). With the exception of younger Millennials, nearly an equal percentage of consumers buy popcorn across all age groups. Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of older Millennials purchase popcorn, followed closely by Gen X, at 61 percent; Baby Boomers, at 59 percent; and Mature/Greatest Generation, at 57 percent. Younger Millennials bring up the rear, with only 43 percent indicating that they buy popcorn.