The average American today has 4.1 food and beverage items at dinner compared with 5.3 items in 1985, and dinner is the only meal in which a majority of the meal occasions are considered by consumers to be a full or complete meal, according to NPD’s Snacking in America 2012 report. The report, which examines long-term attitudes and behaviors about snacking as well as snack selection drivers, finds that snack occasions fill the gaps between traditional main meals with morning showing multiple eating occasions. One out of every five eating occasion in the US is a snack and over half of Americans (53%) are snacking two or three times a day.
“Our frequent snacking is a result of our hectic lifestyles, need for convenience, increasing desire to eat healthier foods, and simply to enjoy what we eat,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “There is, however, a complexity to snacking behaviors based on demographics, needs states, and attitudes. Food manufacturers and retailers will need to align their business strategies with the appropriate consumer behaviors in order to capitalize on consumers’ penchant for snacking. “