U.S. consumers snack so much more, thanks to fewer restaurant visits, a frenzied lifestyle that encourages eating on-the-go and the trend toward replacing meals with several small snacks.
A new report fromPackaged Facts predicts that U.S. retail sales of packaged snacks will rise from $64 billion in 2010 to $77 billion in 2015, as the boundaries between meals and snacks continue to blur. “Snack Foods in the U.S. (4th Edition)” reports that the children of today are comfortable with replacing entire meals with snacks, and will pass these lifestyle traits onto their children, ensuring that snacking will remain a big part of American life.
But this isn’t necessarily a disaster for the nation's health, says research director David Sprinkle. “As consumers seek ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle, snack foods marketed as ‘better for you’ will remain popular. Companies are realizing that they must highlight attributes such as vitamins, minerals, fiber content and lower sodium to both educate consumers and take advantage of demand for such products.”
However, with more of the so-called "better-for-you" snack products, marketers must also offer secondary benefits, such as unique flavors or ingredient blends with great taste as a given to attract consumers.