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BRIC snacking: Stereotypes must be cast aside

By Kacey Culliney , 07-May-2013
Last updated the 07-May-2013 at 13:47 GMT

Snack makers must cast aside stereotypes when targeting the BRIC region because the markets and consumers are a lot more complicated, an analyst says.

Consumption of snacking and impulse foods in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC region) was worth almost $150bn for 2012, according to data from Canadean. Products include baked snacks, cereal bars, energy bars, biscuits, cookies, yoghurts, dairy puddings, confectionery and ice cream.

But as global manufacturers look to tap into opportunities in this lucrative region, consumer and consumption stereotypes must be cast aside, analyst at Canadean Ronan Stafford said.

“The BRIC markets are a lot more complicated than what you think at first sight,” Stafford told BakeryandSnacks.com.

“You can’t assume that the character traits of your established consumer will match up to BRIC consumers. Character traits and purchase motivations are different as well as age and gender trends,” he said.

Snacking for indulgence? Not really…

“In Western Europe and North America a lot of people snack because they want a little treat, but in BRIC markets indulgence isn’t that important,” Stafford said.

Consumers across the BRIC region snack for time out, to get away from what they are doing, he said. “Five minutes to yourself is very important to consumers across the board in the BRIC markets.”

This is especially true for women, particularly those aged 35-44 – the most valuable age group for snacking in the BRIC region, Stafford said.

“These women are basically using snacking and impulse foods to stop and just take a break – to have five minutes of relaxation,” he said.

“Manufacturers should do anything to make their snacks appeal to this ‘time out’. They need to look at when women are snacking and appeal to the occasion and what they are taking a break from.”

Women and men first

Unlike Western Europe and North America where kids are very important in the snacks sector, it is women (aged 16-44) and men above the age of 55 that are the most valuable snackers, Canadean research found.

“It’s very easy when looking at snacking to focus on children and teenagers, especially in the BRIC region where you have a very young and growing population. But you have to look at the research,” Stafford said.

Pre-mid-life women (aged 35-44) consumed $13.7bn worth of snacks and impulse foods in 2011 – representing over a fifth of the total consumed by all women. Therefore manufacturers must prioritize women in the BRIC region, the analyst said.

There is also a healthy snack market among older men aged 55 and over, he said.

Older men consumed $14.1bn worth of products in 2011 – 21.1% of the total snacks and impulse foods consumed by men in the BRIC region.

Stafford said that while these male consumers also want ‘time out’, they are motivated by value for money.

“When targeting the BRIC region, manufacturers have to have very specific, very targeted plans for each age group and gender, even by country. If you want to be really effective in the BRIC markets, you have to look at it on a country level,” he said.

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