It’s hard to deny the fact that the average consumer’s lifestyle is quite a bit different today than it was in years past. Consumers are now busier than ever and often have to adapt to a fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle to meet the demands of their day-to-day commitments and activities. For most people, skipping the traditional sit-down breakfast mealtime is an easy corner to cut to put a little extra time back into their hectic schedules.
With American consumers looking for more convenient, functional snack options to fit their busy schedules, it’s no wonder why the snack food category has seen considerable growth over the past few years. In fact, consumers have increased their snacking frequency from 1.9 snacks per day in 2009 to 2.8 snacks per day in 2014. While the demand for snacks is higher than it’s ever been, consumers are starting to stray from the typical sweet flavors such as chocolate, peanut butter, and fruit, and looking for more diverse, savory options.
Remember when snacking used to be viewed as a weakness? How about getting scolded by your mother for snacking between meals? Sound familiar?
As we continue to see more consumers shift away from the traditional diet approach of eating 3 square meals each day, snack food sales have really taken off in the U.S., with consumers looking for convenient, functional snack options that are better suited for their busy schedules. And while snack food sales in every category are up across the board, the savory snacks category has seen considerable growth over the past few years.
It’s undeniable that today’s consumers are busier than ever, as they try to fit more tasks and activities into each day. With tight schedules come on-the-go lifestyles, making consumers more prone to looking for snack options to get them through the day. As the popularity of the snack segment continues to grow, it’s become increasingly important for food processors to understand the distinct features that consumers are looking for when it comes to the snacks they turn to for specific circumstances.
I’d estimate that my local grocery store has about 150 linear feet of its store dedicated just to snack bars – breakfast bars, nutrition-rich bars, high-protein bars, high-fiber bars, bars for kids…the list goes on. That’s a lot of SKUs for a category that just five years ago was probably half the size.
“Fast-paced” doesn’t begin to describe the hectic, action-packed lives of families today. One consequence of this lifestyle is that we’re all looking for ways to “grab a quick bite” – sometimes to tide us over until mealtime, and sometimes in place of a meal! It’s a trend that’s growing at lightning speed: according to research group Global Industry Analysts Inc., world snack food sales will top a third of a trillion dollars by 2015.