Where and how do you snack?
Do you have a pouch of almonds tucked into your office desk drawer? Do you have a box of your favorite bars, crackers or cookies stashed in your kitchen cabinet? Or do you keep carrots and celery chilled in your refrigerator?
It’s no question that U.S. consumers are snacking more, and manufacturers have risen to support, and even drive, this trend by launching pre-portioned snacks and bite-sized sweets in resealable containers.
In a recent blog post, the Hartman Group noted the phenomenon of snacking has “upended traditional, daily food rituals,” with many consumers snacking multiple times a day. Some skip meals in favor of snacks.
But the prevailing idea that most consumers snack during commutes or while driving children to soccer games might not be totally accurate, the research firm reported.
“Our data and analysis finds, however, that snacking doesn’t actually occur ‘on the go’ to the level or in ways portrayed by the media and industry analysts,” the blog reads.
Analyzing data from its Eating Occasions Compass database, Hartman Group found only 3.4 percent of snacks are consumed in transit, with Millennials consuming more than half of those “on-the-go” snacks. Notably, the firm’s data shows snacking in restaurants occurs more at 4.5 percent, while just over 10 percent of snacking occurs in the workplace.
Hartman Group found the majority of snacks — 70 percent — are consumed at home, which makes a lot of sense. Who doesn’t like a bowl of popcorn during a movie? Or chips during a sporting event? And I’d bet video game players aren’t interested in stopping in the middle of a mission to have a sit-down meal.
As far as the time of day, 40 percent of snacking occurs in the afternoon, while 27 percent of snacks are consumed in the morning. No matter when it happens, consumers are in search of “convenient, portable” products, the Hartman Group said.
It’s unlikely that the need for and interest in snacking will decline, but insight into where and when consumers snack can guide future product development. If consumers are mostly snacking at home, there is room to play with different temperatures and formats. The possibilities are endless.