Turns out more and more lonely hearts club folks are eating snacks as meal. Or at least all the hearts of people who just don’t want to deal with other people right now.

Apparently the growth in snack foods being consumed at meal time is largely driven by people eating those meals by themselves, according to NPD Group’s recently released Snacking in America report.

Specifically, there’s more than 38 million single-person households in the United States, a number that’s strong and growing. And, in 2014, annual eatings per capita of snack foods consumed at meal times among solo diners reached 191 compared to 167 in 2011. Stretched across the U.S. population, that represents a difference of billions of eating occasions.

But what do marketers need to know to reach these snackers?

Well, single people are swapping out meals for snacks for the sames reason people in larger households do — health and weight management. That holds especially true for better-for-you snack foods, the NPD finds.

Also, like a majority of other households, solo snackers tend to plan out which snack they’re going to eat for a meal ahead of time, usually more than a day before. And most of them buy the snacks they eat as a meal at supermarkets.

Although, there is one aspect of single-people’s snacking habits that stands out — their most common reason for grabbing certain better-for-you snacks was that they came in a single-serve package.

“Smaller household sizes and eating alone are among the growing factors with snacking,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Food manufacturers and retailers should think about the unique needs of the solo consumer when developing products and packaging, and marketing messages should be crafted to be relevant to them and their snacking behaviors.” 

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions.