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Consumers snacking between and at mealtimes, says report


August 29, 2014
By Bakers Journal

Aug. 29, 2014, Chicago –
U.S. consumers are eating
traditional snack foods, particularly snacks with a perceived health benefit,
in between and at meals, indicates an NPD Group report.

Aug. 29, 2014, Chicago –
U.S. consumers are eating
traditional snack foods, particularly snacks with a perceived health benefit,
in between and at meals, indicates an NPD Group report.

The recent food and beverage market research study entitled "The
Future of Eating: Who’s Eating What in 2018?" suggests snack foods eaten
at main meals will grow approximately five per cent over the next five years or to
86.4 billion eatings in 2018.

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The strongest growth of snack foods eaten at meals will be
in the better-for-you categories, like refrigerated yogurt, bars and fresh
fruit, which consumers perceive as more healthful and convenient and are more
prone to eating between and at meals, according to the report. Ready-to-eat sweetened snack
foods and desserts, which consumers are less likely to eat at main meals, will
be flat in the next five years.

“The growth in better-for-you snack foods in between and at
meals is a good example of how consumers are redefining the foods they eat, and
how the traditional lines between snack foods and main meal foods are
blurring,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Consumers
clearly associate certain times of day with main meals and between meal
occasions but what they are eating at those occasions is changing.”

Millennials, ages 24 to 37, generation X, ages 38 to 48, and generation Z, ages 0 to 23, are driving much of the growth in better-for-you snack
food consumption between and at meals. Their positive attitudes about snacking,
desire to eat more healthfully, and need for convenience are among the reasons
for the growth in this category.

“Food marketers and retailers can capitalize on the growing
interest in better-for-you snack foods but it may require a paradigm shift,”
said Seifer. “It’s key to focus on providing convenience and addressing the
needs that these foods meet rather than positioning foods in the pre-defined buckets
of snacks or main meal foods.”