By many accounts, the three-square-meal model has given way to a full circle of snacking.
According to last year’s Global Survey of Snacking report from market research firm Nielsen, nearly half (45%) of consumers say they are replacing meals with snacks. The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (I.D.D.B.A.), in its recent original report, “Engaging the Evolving Shopper: Serving the New American Appetite,” found that snacking and immediate consumption are influencing shoppers’ habits.
“Snacking is no longer just an incidental eating occasion where a consumer impulsively purchases a low-cost, packaged item such as a candy bar or bag of nuts,” said Eric Richard, I.D.D.B.A.’s education coordinator. “It's become a purposeful, rich cultural practice that now stretches beyond the center-store snack aisles and into the fresh perimeter.”
Meanwhile, Phil Lempert, the “supermarket guru” who will speak on snacking at this month’s SNAXPO meeting in Orlando, listed grazing as a top food trend for 2015. He noted in one of his recent blogs that 91% of people report that they snack on a daily basis and that Baby Boomers over age 65 are opting for a “grazing” approach to eating that will shake up the marketplace.
As the grazing movement expands, manufacturers are responding not only with new products but also with new formats, packaging and positioning that appeals to anytime snacking and to snacks-as-meals instead of between-meal snacking. Tyson’s Any’tizers line, which includes regular introductions of new products, is one example. Post Foods has heeded the trend with its recent introduction of Honey Bunches of Oats Breakfast Biscuits, designed for “anytime, anywhere” consumption. Even traditional sweet and salty snacks are getting new formats designed around portability and the anytime factor, such as new Honey Maid Go Bites from Mondel?z International and new Cheetos Sweetos, a cinnamon-sugar puff snack from the Frito-Lay Cheetos brand. As 2015 continues, other new products — in the snack category and other categories, ranging from bakery to fresh foods — are likely to reflect the evolving snacking trend.