Three square meals a day used to be the norm, but diets have become more complicated, work and social schedules have become busier and consumers have started to desire more variety throughout the day. These are some of the reasons Americans have shifted away from a classic meal structure and gravitated toward anytime, anywhere snacking.
Views on snacking are broadening, and consumers are more likely to replace one or two meals per day with snacks today than they were two years ago, according to Technomic’s 2018 Snacking Occasion report. While most consumers eat three meals a day with a few snacks throughout, the gap between eating three meals per day and replacing meals with snacks is narrowing. Overall, 80% of consumers say they snack between meals at least once a day, and 57% say they snack twice a day or more.
How can convenience store retailers snag more of those snack dollars? It’s important to keep a close eye on how consumers are redefining snacks. Technomic’s Snacking report found that 39% of consumers—including 57% of those ages 18- to 34-years old—say their definition of snacks has changed over the past two years to include a wider variety of foods and beverages. Time-pressed customers are increasingly replacing meals with snacks, and are looking for something more substantial to satisfy their hunger.
Consumers turn to better-for-you snacks
According to Technomic’s Snacking report, 34% of consumers say they are snacking on healthier foods compared to two years ago, and 25% plan to snack more healthfully in the next 12 months. Health attributes with the greatest appeal include “high in protein” and “energizing.” So, it’s to retailers’ benefit to offer snacks that include beef, chicken, seafood, nut butters and protein-rich grains for customers looking for a healthful bite that’s high in protein, natural, additive-free and doesn’t break the bank.
Snacks that hit the high protein mark are beef jerky and other dried meats. Consider Jack Link’s Beef Steak Strips, a new bar made with 100% beef, and comes in a variety of flavor profiles. These slow cooked and seasoned meat snacks are craveable and shelf-stable and provide a lot of protein for hungry shoppers:
- The Original Beef Strip Steak provides 8 grams of protein.
- The Teriyaki Beef Steak Strip provides 8 grams of protein.
- The Cracked Pepper Beef Steak Strip provides 7 grams of protein.
Portability is important
Whether it’s for work, school or a day out adventuring, packing healthy snacks can sometimes be a challenge. Many nutritious treats require refrigeration or add-ons, such as an ice pack, that can weigh down one’s purse or backpack. Portability is increasingly vital as it delivers value to consumers who continue to look for on-the-go meal replacements no matter when or where they get hungry.
Consumers desire small, portable, shelf-stable snacks that can be left in their car, desk or bag. In fact, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion report, 37% of consumers say that any food can be a snack if the portion size is small.
The global savory snacks market is expected to reach $175.85 billion by 2021, according to Technomic. C-store retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on consumers’ growing desire to purchase snacks that replace meals, are healthy and are portable. By stocking a variety of snacks, including high-protein options, retailers can keep abreast of consumer trends and remain competitive.
This post is sponsored by Jack Link's Protein Snacks