Snacks play bigger role as food culture changes

Snacking is no longer limited to between-meal munching. “The food culture is changing, and snacking occasions are much broader,” said Blaine Becker, a representative for The Hartman Group. Becker said consumers are snacking more frequently during the day and often are reaching for more substantial, healthier snacks.

Research from The Hartman Group indicated that for millennial consumers, the lines between meals have blurred, and “three squares” a day are being replaced by smaller, more frequent meals.

Yogurt, snack and granola bars, chips and nuts hold 4-of-the-top-5 spots in a list of food items that have seen the most growth over the last decade, according to NPD Group’s Harry Balzer. He said these snacks are being used as a meal component or eaten alone as a mini-meal. 

Yogurt is one of the fastest-growing food segments. PepsiCo recently entered the category with its Müller brand. The premium snack segment also is experiencing solid growth and is outpacing overall category growth. All-natural and organic snacks also are seeing strong growth.

Innovation in the premium end of the market traditionally has come from smaller companies, such as Pirate Brands’ Veggie Booty and Stacy’s Pita Chips, companies that pioneered new product categories. Smaller companies now are being joined by the category leaders as larger companies see growth opportunity in the segment. Increasingly, big players, such as Pepsi, are concentrating on the premium, as well as value, segments of the market.

Category growth will be fueled by minimally processed snacks, as well as snacks that provide the innovative flavor profiles consumers continue to prefer.



The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Snacks Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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