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Snack Time Taking Over Adult Eating Habits

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Snacking has grown up. It’s rapidly becoming a mainstay of daily eating habits, as 97% of adults say they choose a snack at least once a day.1 And with another 82% admitting to snacking twice a day, it’s no surprise that snacks are becoming a significant source of caloric intake. On average, women consume 400 calories per day from snacks, while men take in around 600 snack calories each day.1

Many consumers have switched from snacking as a treat to snacking as a meal—most often lunch.1 Millennials, however, take it to a new level, snacking in place of breakfast, lunch and dinner almost twice as often as other generations.1

And because everyone snacks in their own way, there is no such thing as a designated “snack time” anymore. In fact, time of day often determines the type of snack most adults reach for—with healthier, convenience-driven options dominating morning choices and more sweets slipping in after dinner.3 feb article image

That’s why it’s important for operators to tailor snack offerings to adult snackers. The first step, be prepared for each time-of-day demand with a variety of better-for-you, sweet and savory snacks to satisfy every hunger.

MORNING: Convenience Counts

One-third of adults who skip breakfast reach for a snack instead.1 This is the time to make better-for-you breakfast snacks and pairings available to busy consumers so you can help satisfy their need to energize on the go. Think breakfast bars, baked goods and yogurt, as they are the most common morning snack selections.1

MID-DAY: Savory Surges

Energy is also a concern for afternoon snackers. This is a great daypart to feature nutritious snacks and mini-meals as a way to attract lunchtime meal replacers. Be sure to stock your shelves and fresh food cases with savory favorites like on-trend popcorn flavors, hummus, nuts, nut butters, veggies, and better-for-you, baked and alternative chips.

EVENING: Sweets Take Center Stage

After dinner seems to be the best time to capture sales of more traditional dessert offerings as more than one-third of evening snacks fall into the sweets category.3 But portion size remains a concern. Focus on mini treats such as brownie bites, mini cupcakes and portioned cookies made with wholesome ingredients such as oats. You can also offer balanced treats by pairing fruit with frozen yogurt, ice cream and chocolate.

Adding a little sophistication to snack time can go a long way to keeping adults engaged in your offerings morning, noon and night.

1 Miller, Amy Myrdal, “What’s Up With the U.S. Snacking Obsession?” Idea Health & Fitness Association, Oct. 23, 2015

2 USDA What We Eat in America 14

3 NPD Group, “Time of Day Dictates Sweet and Savory Snack Consumption, But Place Is Predictor for Eating Better-For-You Snacks,” Oct. 27, 2015

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