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Americans consume more snacks than in past, report finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Snacks used to be primarily something given to children as a reward, but today, they’re a major part of Americans’ eating habits, according to a new report.

Bellevue, Wash.-based market research firm The Hartman Group surveyed members of HartmanSalt.com, a food information website and used data from its Eating Occasions Database to find that Americans, on average, eat 2.3 snacks per day, most frequently in the afternoon, evening and late at night.

Most snacking occurs at home, while only 12% say they eat snacks at work, and 7% eat them while traveling from place to place. For 27% of Americans, snacking is an impulse, while 28% eat snacks because they want an indulgent treat. Fourteen percent eat snacks when they feel stressed or anxious.

While 57% of respondents said it was important for foods and beverages consumed while snacking to be healthy, the foods and beverages mentioned most often were chips and soda.

But while frequent snacking is often blamed for such health issues as obesity, blaming it alone oversimplifies the issue, Kansas State University nutrition professor Mark Haub told Drug Store News. Haub, who made headlines in 2010 by losing 27 lbs. in 10 weeks with what he called a "convenience store diet" — consisting of snack foods like Twinkies, chips and cookies consumed every three hours instead of consuming meals — said that what often matters most is individual needs, and that it’s people’s relationship to snacking that helps or hurts.

"In and of itself, I don’t see snacking per se as being detrimental," Haub said. "I see eating more frequently as being a problem if portion sizes aren’t adjusted to meet needs."

Snacking can become a problem if people are eating three meals plus consuming large numbers of calories as a snack on top of them, but for others, eating four to six snacks a day instead of three meals can also be healthy. "We have this broad recommendation for everybody when not everybody can fall into that."

Source: The Hartman Group

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Stop & Shop launches free produce sweepstakes

BY Alaric DeArment

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Stop & Shop is offering free produce for a year to winners of a healthy eating contest it is sponsoring, the Ahold banner said.

Through the end of this month, customers who purchase any 10 products designated as "Healthy Ideas" at one time using their Stop & Shop card will be automatically entered into the chain’s Healthy New Year Free Produce for a Year sweepstakes.

"At Stop & Shop, we strive to make shopping for healthy foods easy," Stop & Shop New England Division in-store nutritionist Julie Menounos said. "With our Healthy Ideas shelf and product labeling system, customers can find truly healthy foods. With a little planning ,families can create shopping lists together and gather recipes, coupons and inspiration from our quarterly Healthy Ideas Magazine and weekly circular."

Customers can also pick up Kid Healthy Ideas, a free health-and-wellness magazine aimed at children aged 8 to 12 with health-related articles, games and recipes.

In other news, another Ahold banner, Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pa., announced the completion of eight store remodels in Pennsylvania and Virginia. The remodels include new decor, expanded product selections, beer gardens, sushi bars and more new features.

 

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Sweets and Snacks Expo bucks trade show trend

BY Mike Troy

CHICAGO — Retailer and supplier consolidation has led to the demise of some conventional trade shows, but that’s not the case with the Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Record attendance is expected at the event scheduled for May 21 through May 23 in Chicago due in part to format changes by event organizer the National Confectioners Association and the strength of merchandise categories represented at the mega event.

Sponsored by the National Confectioners Association, the 2013 Expo is now in its 17th year and event organizers recently announced that exhibit space at Chicago’s McCormick Place is nearly sold out. The increased popularity is due in part to a format change seven years ago that added snacks to the mix of categories represented. As a result, a number of big-name items, including Frito-Lay’s Cracker Jack and Unilever’s single-serve frozen novelties will be on hand this year.

"Seven years ago, when the NCA board decided to incorporate snacks into the Expo, the thought was to increase the opportunities and efficiencies of those already attending," says Larry Graham, NCA president. "By adding respected brands like Cracker Jack, as well as new categories like ice cream, the Expo has become now, more than ever, a retailers’ one-stop-shop for candy and snack needs in a growing variety of product categories." According to Tim Quinn, Expo chairman and vp of trade development at Mars Chocolate North America, "candy and snack category sales continue to outpace total store sales, and in a challenging economy, retailers increasingly rely on those categories that are proven sales performers. The Expo was designed to not only provide retailers access to more new and exciting products, but also to offer merchandising solutions and keynote topics designed to turn insights into actions," Quinn said.

Event organizers also said this year’s Expo will feature an unprecedented number of international exhibitors, with a new Ecuadorian pavilion joining Brazilian, Chinese, German and Mexican pavilions.

"It has become increasingly important that our industry continue to expand our markets to include other countries and regions," Quinn said. "The global marketplace provides an area of growth opportunity going forward, and our Expo is the place to connect with manufacturers from around the world to discover international products that can set retailers apart from the rest."

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