Healthy Snacking On The Rise in U.S.

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New York, NY—Results from Mintel’s recent Snacking Motivations and Attitudes 2015 report show that more Americans are snacking than ever before—but are also making smarter snacking choices.

Perhaps the most prominent statistic from the report is that 94% of Americans snack at least once a day. In addition, 50% of adults reported snacking two to three times a day, and 70% were in agreement that these days, anything can be considered a snack. This is a huge jump from the 64% of those surveyed who said they snacked between meals in 2014.

As to why more consumers are drawn to snacking, the biggest reason was to satisfy a craving, which 62% of those surveyed reported. Only 31% reported snacking because it was too late or too early for a full meal. Rises were also seen in emotional reasons for snacking, with 25% of those surveyed reporting snacking due to boredom (a 2% rise from last year) and 16% saying they snack due to stress. Generational demographics also played a role, with older consumers being motivated by cravings by higher levels than other demographics, while Millennials reported more instances of emotional snacking than anyone else.

Perhaps the most positive results that have come from this report regard attitudes toward healthy snacks, with 33% of the survey population saying that they are snacking on healthier foods than they were last year. This number has steadily risen with time, and is something that only stands to increase, with nearly a third of all parents surveyed mentioning that they are serving healthier snacks to their children, including 33% of Millennial parents. Even with the wealth of healthy snacks coming out of the natural products industry and other categories, consumers are still demanding more. 60% of customers in the U.S. reported wanting healthier snack options, and 77% are looking for more convenience in their snacking, favoring ready-to-eat foods over those that need to be prepared.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2015, (online 8/10/2015)