U.S. Snacking Trends: Understanding consumer and foodservice operator habits and offerings for snackable items including salty snacks, sweet snacks, natural snacks, and entree-type snacks

Dec 2016| MDK006A| Datassential

Report Highlights

Almost everyone snacks, and most people snack multiple times a day. Snacks usually consist of both a food and a beverage.

Over two-thirds of consumers have a snack every few hours between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM. A beverage by itself – usually coffee – is most common in the early morning; pairing food with a beverage is most common during all other dayparts.

In the afternoon, consumers are more likely to snack on savory entrée-type foods like sandwiches, pizza, and leftovers, than on traditional snack foods. Sweet and natural snacks make up most morning snacking; sweets dominate the late night snack.

Nearly half of consumers report no change in their overall snack consumption compared to one year ago. About a third say that they are eating more snacks today than they were a year ago.

Retail purchases represent 80% of snacks; and most snacking is planned rather than impulsive.

Retail snacks must be a good value, fresh, and healthy to meet consumers’ top priorities. Indulgence is moderately important, as are packaging attributes like portability.

Freshness, value, and health are what consumers look for when buying snacks away from home. Packaging-related attributes like portability, single-serve packaging, and no-mess presentation are far less important than key product attributes.

Nearly all operators offer menu items that can be considered “snackable,” such as frozen treats or fried appetizers. However, only one-third specifically position these items as snacks.

Baked goods and fried appetizers are both commonly offered and are promoted most often as snacks. The majority of operators would not consider promoting many items as snacks, although they are more receptive with traditional snacks such as chips.

The Snacking Keynote combines the opinions and behaviors of over 3,500 consumers and insight from hundreds of operators from Datassential’s OPERA™ panel, the industry’s largest with over 30,000 restaurant, retail, and onsite operators. We cover the snacking landscape in both retail and foodservice and take deep dives into consumer and operator habits, perceptions, and preferences regarding sweet, salty, and natural snacks, as well as non-traditional snacks such as burgers, pizza, and beverages. You’ll learn more about…

Snacking Behavior
In addition to the attitudes, trends, and tastes that Keynotes always cover, we asked over 3,500 consumers to track their snacking for a day to capture the nuances of their snacking behavior. Discover the who, what, where, when, and why of snacking to understand foods and beverages chosen, snacking triggers, and snacking occasions.

Snacking Attitudes
Learn how snacking fits into consumers’ lifestyles; compare what consumers say they are looking for in snacks at home versus away from home; gauge purchase intent by foodservice segment.

Operator Perspectives
Uncover how foodservice operators view snacking and their biggest snacking challenges; what the current and predicted future importance of snacking is for different operators.

Retail Developments
Learn how cutting-edge retail snacks could impact your business. We looked at hundreds of recently released retail snack food items to identify trends in salty snacks, sweet snacks (including frozen), natural and high protein snacks, and frozen bites.

Restaurant Menus
Identify new menu items positioned as snacks and which snack items appeal to consumers most on attributes including purchase intent and uniqueness. Snack menu trends are explored with exclusive insights from our INSIDER and SCORES tools, which track and test LTOs and other menu concepts every month.

Datassential, a Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm, brings clients real-world information on foodservice and consumer packaged goods in the U.S. and around the world. The company’s services, including its extensive MenuTrends database, provide in-depth reporting on trends in menu offerings, flavor profiles, ingredients and preparations. Datassential helps operators, retailers, and suppliers understand and capitalize on these important trends.

Datassential makes the food industry smarter. We provide trend software, predictive analytics, and consumer insights that help manufacturers, food retailers, and chain restaurants innovate and sell more intelligently.

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