Snack Times, Definition Expand (Infographic)

Number of consumers who have at least two snacks a day on rise

Technomic Snack Clock

CHICAGO -- Snack consumption is on the rise, as half of today's consumers (51%) say that they eat snacks at least twice a day, an increase from the 48% who said the same in 2012, according to Technomic Inc.'s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report. And about a third of consumers (31%) said they are snacking more frequently than they were just two years ago.

Not only are consumers snacking more often, they're broadening their definition of a "snack." These days, a wider range of foods--and beverages--are now viewed as snacks, and convenience stores and other retailers are sparking competition with 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, Chicago. "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."

Other findings include:

  • Consumers eat snacks both between meals and as meal replacements: Nearly half of consumers (49%) eat snacks between meals and 45% replace one or two daily meals with a snack.
  • 45% of consumers who order snacks at restaurants order from the dollar or value menu.
  • 50% of consumers indicate that healthfulness is very important to them when choosing a snack.
  • Portability is increasingly vital: 60% of today's consumers, compared to 55% in 2012, cite portability as an important or extremely important factor when choosing a snack.

Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.