Snacking on the Rise: NPD

Snacking is only getting bigger, according to new research from The NPD Group. In a recently released report on predicted changes in American eating through 2018, the market research firm finds that snacks are quickly gaining momentum as consumers continue to look for on-the-go meal options.

Overall snacking occurrences are predicted to increase by 18.5 percent—from 86,515 incidences in 2008 to 102,540 incidences by 2018. The biggest rise is predicted to happen in morning snacking, forecasted to increase 23.3 percent, followed by afternoon (19.8 percent) and evening (14.6 percent) snacking.

Additionally, consumption of refrigerated snacks is expected to jump by 19 percent. Ready-to-eat snacking is predicted to rise by 17.4 percent while homemade snacks by 15.2 percent.

“The strong projected growth in snacking is both a reflection of the growth in new types of snack foods as well as an evolution of how consumers eat,” said Ann Hanson, author of “A Look into The Future of Eating” and director of product development at NPD. “Many consumers are eating on-the-go and there are more and more foods available to meet this need.”

During the 13-week period ending Aug 8, 2009, Nielsen snack-related market data revealed only slight increases in year-over-year growth. While dollar sales rose across the board for all markets—salty snacks, crackers, nuts, gum, and cookies/ice cream—unit sales did not reflect these gains.

Unit sales in the salty snacks market remained flat, ticking up only 0.1 percent. The most significant growth in this market was a 20 percent growth in the caramel corn/popped corn department. The crackers and nuts markets both showed minor growth, at 3.6 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. Candy (-2.6 percent), gum (-2.7 percent), and cookie/ice cream (-1.8 percent) all experienced decline.
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