Lunch, nibble, light meal or energy lift: The way people think about snacking is changing

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

For more consumers more often, snacking is no longer an optional extra. Pic: ©GettyImages/South_agency
For more consumers more often, snacking is no longer an optional extra. Pic: ©GettyImages/South_agency

Related tags Innova market insights snacking Millenials on-the-go Innovation

For most consumers, snacking is a part of daily life and always has been. However, what is changing is the way people think about snacking and what is considered to be a snack.

According to Innova Market Insights, consumer’s increasingly busy lifestyles mean the standard three-meals-a-day have been ditched for a less formal eating pattern.

Source: Innova

This, in turn, has spurred on the snacking space, creating opportunities for snacks to fill the role of mini meals.

Snacking is no longer the optional extra, but the definitive occasion.

In the past four years, the market researcher’s data shows the average annual growth in food and beverages with a snacking claim has climbed 14%.

“Fundamental changes in eating patterns are giving way to less traditional meal patterns,”​ said Lu Ann Williams, director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

“This is shifting to a more fragmented and flexible eating style, encompassing multiple small meals or snacks, often eaten alone or on-the-go.”

Consumers are becoming more adventurous, set on new discoveries and experiences.

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Source: Innova

An earlier Innova study found the connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures, contributing to 35% growth of ‘discovery’ claims, when comparing 2017 and 2016 new product launch numbers.

Snack attack

Notable is the increase in nutritious snacking launches.

Innova said healthy choices are seeing the fastest growth rates for NPD overall, as consumers turn to wholesome, satisfying and sustaining snacks to contribute to their refueling and nutritional needs throughout the day.

This is led by vegetable-based snacks comprised of ontrend ingredients that are creating a buzz – especially driven by millennials – such as nuts that are more exotic, ancient grains, seaweed, hemp and baobab.

The plant-based market is showing no signs of slowing down as companies and brands green up their portfolios to attract mainstream consumers who perceive going plant-based is about achieving a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

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Source: Innova

Another Innova report found that almonds were the leading nut used in global snack product introductions in 2017.

On-the-go, portion controlled and lighter options such as miniatures, bites and puffs are increasingly in evidence, as is the search for the right balance between health and indulgence.

However, snacking choices differ across regions, with Americans reaching for nuts & seeds, chocolate and yogurt/drinking yogurt, while Brits veer toward potato-based snacks and sweet biscuits/cookies.

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