CHICAGO -- Snacking has become an everyday occasion. In fact, 80% of consumers say they snack between meals at least once a day, while 57% say they snack between meals twice a day or more, according to Technomic’s recent 2018 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite. And this is good news for convenience stores, as nearly one-fifth (19%) more consumers than in 2016 are purchasing snacks at retailers—the largest increase of all foodservice segments, according to the report.
But if operators want to stay ahead of the competition, they may need to pinpoint where to focus their efforts. Here are three snacking trends to monitor …
1. Millennials like it sweet
Millennials have a sweet tooth. Twenty percent of the consumer group (18- to 34-year-olds) are eating more sweet snacks compared to two years ago, outpacing salty, spicy and savory flavors, the report said. Moreover, 57% of them say they purchase juice as a snack at least occasionally (once every 90 days). This is the highest among beverage-snack options for the younger generation, with coffee trailing a few percentage points behind.
2. People want healthy snacks
At CSP’s recent Convenience Retailing University conference in Glendale, Ariz., Aaron Mace, category manager for Dash In Food Stores/The Wills Group, La Plata, Md., said healthy snacks make up less than 3% of the overall snacking segment. Despite this, it appears consumers are craving healthy snacks, as 34% say they are snacking on healthier foods and 25% plan to snack more healthfully in the next 12 months.
3. Cookies are hot
Cookies dominate dessert snacking: nearly three-fourths (74%) of consumers say they purchase cookies at least occasionally—the highest among all dessert snacks. But cookies are in a league of their own, because the number of consumers who say they purchase baked goods as snacks at least occasionally dropped 10% since 2016.