According to the NPD Group’s most recent survey, consumers love snacks! And why not. They like tasty, rich snacks, according to the NPD Group’s “Future of Snacking” report, which says consumers “are giving themselves permission to enjoy indulgent snacks.”
For retailers with cooking programs, the trend is an interesting one. Why not consider adding classes on how to whip up snacks to the class menu?
“The role of snack food is changing in different ways in reaction to Americans’ desire for balance, portable snack foods and holistic wellness,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of “Eating Patterns in America.” “It’s no longer about depriving yourself of something you enjoy eating. Today it’s about giving yourself permission to eat indulgent snack foods in moderation.”
“Permissible snack indulgence” is what NPD researchers call the trend, and for most consumers that permission tended to come later in the day, either as a dinner or late evening snack.
However, the NPD “Future of Snacking” study finds that snack indulgence has been growing in the morning whereas midday and dinnertime indulgent snacking has been declining or flat. That, according to NPD, makes sense since breakfast tends to be an on-the-go behavior and snack-sized foods offer the speed and portability needed in the morning.
Overall, snacking involves a need to reward oneself, which is where the more indulgent snack foods come into play. And not surprisingly, snacking is not going away: NPD predicts the market for snack foods will grow over the next five years, with a generational twist.
Consumers over 40, Gen Xers and younger Boomers will drive the growth in snacks like seeds and nuts, cereal bars, toaster pastries and meat snacks like jerky. Older Boomers are going to town with a higher consumption of chocolate candy, frozen novelties and ice cream, because, why not?
“A wide range of savory, sweet and better-for-you snack foods are now permissible in almost any situation,” says Portalatin, noting the clever marketing among food companies. “Snack food manufacturers have figured out ways to offer the permission to enjoy.”