Even the healthiest consumer sometimes needs a treat.

Recent Mintel research shows that 39% of healthy snackers say they occasionally eat less-healthy and more indulgent snacks.

But the best way to reach more health-conscious consumers is still with healthy snacks. In the same group, 44% say they tend to eat healthfully most of the time and 42% make it a point to snack on foods that are healthy.

“Eating healthy snacks can offer many benefits to consumers, such as increased energy and feeling fuller longer,” says Molly Maier, senior wellness analyst at Mintel. “The number of snackers who only consume healthy treats is a relatively small one, but one that shouldn’t be ignored by snack-food manufacturers.”

Producers looking for a working definition of “healthy” need only look at the data. Mintel notes that 86% consider fresh fruit healthy, 73% consider raw vegetables healthy and 71% consider nuts/seeds healthy. But some sweet lovers did say they consider cookies (9%) and ice cream (12%) healthy.

As snacks are often impulse buys, reaching out to health-conscious snackers means making healthy snacks more accessible. Mintel notes that 46% of respondents say it’s hard to find healthy snacks in vending machines or other on-the-go locations while 16% believe it takes more time to prepare a healthy snack.

Mintel is a supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence.

For more information on Mintel, please visit www.mintel.com.

- M.K.