A Snacking Society

September 7, 2015
Flavor Ingredients Snacks Trends

A Snacking Society

When it comes to snacking, consumers want fast, portable, value-priced,healthy, delicious and shareable snacks.Typically eaten at a time otherthan traditional mealtime, snacks can be either a single food group (thinka piece of fruit or chunk of cheese) or be a portion of a meal category (likehalf a sandwich). Bottom line? Consumers snacking habits completely re-flect the status of U.S. consumers’ lifestyles today.


Download the full snacking report here!


What's in a snack?

Snack and Energy Bars

Stroll the grocery aisle and it’s easy to see that snackbars have made a big image change. Yes, the expected oatmeal-based granola bar is still there, but joining it isthe protein-rich meal replacement bar or the paleo barwith unique proteins. Close by is the salty/sweet dessertbar and bars accessorized with vegetable ingredients. Theoptions are wide and varied and consumers should beable to find flavors that entice their tastes andingredients and support their health goals.


Sweet Snacks

Americans love their cookies for either a snack ora dessert, but whole grains are becoming more andmore desired. Consumer interest in healthier cookiesis high with 23% desiring all natural cookies and 20% interested in whole grain cookies. New productintroductions fall short of this demand as only 17% ofcookie introductions had all natural claims and 10%claimed whole grain ingredients.


Salty Snacks

Whether in the form of nuts, popped chips, traditionalpotato chips, popcorn or crackers, salty snacks arepreferred by most consumers as the perfect partners to dips and cheeses or on their own. The category is worth$21.8 billion in sales.


Snacks taste so good!

(Includes all snacks: nuts, potato chips, popcorn, snack bars, snack mixes,rice snacks, fruit-based snacks, bean-based snacks)

Top Flavors

Cheddar Cheese

Sea Salt





Peanut Butter




Roasted & Salt

Nacho Cheese

Sour Cream & Onion



Unique Flavors

Bacon and Whiskey

Barbecue and Seaweed

Bison Bacon and Cranberry

Carrot, Chili Pepper and Lime

Chocolate, Blueberry and Cranberry

Dark Chocolate, Coffee and Cayenne


Download the full snacking report here!


Something to Snack On


Gluten-free and clean labels are winning withconsumers. It’s not enough to be low-sodium ornatural anymore. Consumers want to recognize andunderstand the ingredients contained in the foodsthey purchase—even their snack foods.


Protein Added to Snacking

63% of consumers look for protein content whenpurchasing packaged food and drink, while 57% are trying to get as much protein as possible into their diet.With a third of high protein products coming from thesnacking category mostly made up of snack bars, thereis definitely opportunity for protein in the salty snackarena. Also, high protein snack bars with more than15g of protein are limited in mainstream brands, which presents opportunity.


Consumers Determine the Category of Snack

Just because it’s labeled “snack” doesn’t mean that’show consumers consume it. Portion size, portabilityand packaging are all factors that dictate meals orsnacks in consumers’ on-the-go lifestyles. Lookfor the snacking lines to blur as manufacturersposition products based on lifestyles of their customers.


Ethnic Flavors

Only 20% of salty snackers will experimentwith unique flavors, but consumers growinginterest in ethnic cuisines and restaurants saysotherwise. The winner of the 2014 Frito-Lay DoUs a Flavor competition created a wasabi gingerpotato chip flavor, signifying a shift in snackingflavors. Especially seeing a surge in ethnic flavorsis the popcorn segment, as smaller boutiquemanufacturers are taking advantage of consumers’obsession with sriracha and bold flavors. This is asegment with popping sales, as ready to eat popcornsales surged to more than $750 million in 2014, an increase of 60% since 2012.


Snacking 411

The snacking industry represents over $124 billion in retail sales in North America.

•In the U.S., salty snack sales have increased 28% since 2008 and are expected to grow another 31% by2018.

•The number of consumers who would define themselves as “healthy snackers” has grown from 2 million to 41 million since 2004.

•Snacking is an all day event for most consumers, regardless of the time of day, but 60% of consumersare snacking after noon.

• On-the-go snacking is a growing trend up 5% since 2009 with 45% of consumers looking forconvenient, easy-to-pack snacks.

• 67% of consumers snack because they are satisfying an emotional hunger, while 61% eat to quell physical hunger.  


Download the full report here!


flavored popcorn image credit: StarBerry Farms