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Time, Place Dictate Consumer Snacking Behavior: NPD

Consumers' snacking preferences are found to be partially determined by time and place, according to a new study by The NPD Group.

More specifically, finds Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD, preference for savory and sweet snacks is predicted by the time of day, while consumption of better-for-you items is determined more by location.

“All snack foods are not treated equally by consumers depending on the time of day,” says Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst. “Marketers of snack food products need to communicate with consumers based on day part, while better-for-you snack marketers need to be more focused on location, as in-home versus away from home.”

When looking at the snack-oriented food groups, the day starts healthy with better-for-you snacks, which are typically consumed throughout the day depending on location, savory picks up mid-day, and in the evening there’s a desire for sweet, according to NPD’s Snacking in America report.

Further, one third of snack/appetizer items consumed for or instead of lunch or dinner are from the savory snack category, finds the NPD report, and more than a third of snacks consumed after dinner are sweet. And some 40 percent of snacks carried from home and eaten at school, work, in the car, or at other locations are better-for-you. 

Not only does time of day and place dictate snack food preferences, the report finds, but so do the seasons. Sweet snack consumption spikes in November with Halloween treats, better-for-you snacking decreases in November and December, and savory snacking hits its peak in December and January. 

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