'Snack' Means Different Things to Today's Consumers

CHICAGO -- Today's consumers are not only snacking more often, but they're also redefining what they call a "snack," according to a new report released by Technomic Inc.

Nearly a third of consumers (31 percent) told Technomic they're snacking more frequently than they were two years ago, and 51 percent said they eat snacks at least twice a day, an increase from 48 percent in 2012.

A wider range of foods and beverages are now viewed as snacks, which is sparking competition between convenience stores and other retailers vs. restaurants in order to meet the growing demand.

"Snacking occasions represent a growth channel for restaurant operators," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "The retail market is aggressively promoting snacks, but there's plenty of room for restaurants to expand their snack programs and grab share. By providing more innovative, healthy and easily portable snacks, and boosting variety, restaurants can position themselves to increase incremental traffic and sales -- particularly among a younger customer base."

These findings are from Technomic's most recent update of its Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, which provides comprehensive research on the latest behaviors, preferences and attitudes of snacking consumers. The updated research also shows that:

  • 49 percent of consumers eat snacks between meals;
  • 45 percent replace one or two daily meals with a snack;
  • 45 percent of consumers who order snacks at restaurants order from the dollar or value menu;
  • 50 percent indicate that healthfulness is important to them when choosing a snack; and
  • 60 percent say portability is an important factor when choosing a snack.

Chicago-based Technomic provides clients with facts, insights and consulting support. 

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