Sitting down for three square meals is officially a thing of the past. Researchers found that snacking now accounts for half of all eating occasions, whether due to practicality, satisfying an emotional need, or seeking better health. Millennials are reshaping the way Americans eat—78% say snacking keeps them full between meals, 64% believe snacking is an affordable way to replace meals, 56% snack to satisfy a craving, and 20% believe that eating smaller, more frequent meals is healthier than eating three large meals a day.
In Food and Beverage, Better-For-You Claims Win
This shift in dietary habits has created an opportunity to offer consumers a variety of better-for-you snacks with benefits beyond nutrition. Sixty percent of consumers want snacks that offer additional health benefits, including 71% who look for super food claims, 65% who seek out snacks that will provide them with increased energy, and 59% who say they want snacks that contain vitamins and minerals. “Fresh and natural” are also important to this consumer, 60% want foods that are fresh and 56% avoid preservatives or additives. Free-from claims continue to interest consumers who are looking to lower their intake of sodium and sugar.
A Snack is A Snack…Or Is It?
It’s no longer just about chips or cookies, the landscape of snack options has changed dramatically. While a Boomer may have considered a slice of pizza a meal, a Millennial may consider it a late afternoon snack. This opens the snack category to different types of foods and endless possibilities—as long as it’s portable. Innovations in flavor, format, and benefit, along with a compelling brand story and Instagrammable packaging have been hallmarks of successful emerging brands.
Is Not Just About the Food
Transparency is critical for consumers who are as focused on what’s in their food as where it came from. This includes simple/clean ingredients, claims and certifications, fair trade, and local and authentic provenance. Beyond the food, 60% of Millennials say product label and packaging influence their snack buying decision – 52% want to see reduced packaging, and 48% look for environmentally friendly packaging. Communicating a brand’s commitment to the environment and fair and sustainable practices elevates the brand in the eyes of the consumer.
Millennials are not only the largest consumer segment in the U.S., they are also the largest consumer group of snackers. Marketers need to understand their mindset and the cultural trends that are driving the snack category. Women’s Marketing offers our client partners deep insights into the food and beverage consumer and expertise across the marketing landscape. Discover how our suite of marketing services can help your food and beverage brand win in a competitive category.
Sources: IRi 2017 New and Emerging Snacking Trends, Millennial Marketing The Snack Hack What You Need to Know About Modern Consumer Snacking Culture 2017