In the past four years, the average annual growth in food and beverages with a snacking claim has climbed 14%, according to a new study.
For most consumers, snacking is a part of daily life and always has been, according to Innova Market Insights. What’s changing, according to the firm’s new research, is the way people think about snacking and what is considered to be a snack.
“Fundamental changes in eating patterns largely driven by increasingly busy lifestyles mean that the traditional pattern of three meals a day has been giving way over some years to a less formal eating pattern,” says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “This is shifting to a more fragmented and flexible eating style, encompassing multiple small meals or snacks, often eaten alone or on the go.”
This rise in the so-called “fourth meal” culture has increased demand for quick and convenient yet healthy solutions for busy consumers, according to Innova. This is creating opportunities for wholesome, satisfying and sustaining snacks to fulfill the role of mini meals and play a more meaningful role in contributing to refueling and nutritional needs throughout the day.
Healthy snacking choices are seeing the fastest growth rates overall, with nutritious options gaining ground, according to the study. This is led by vegetable-based snacks, with an increasingly high profile for on-trend ingredients such as more unusual nuts, ancient grains, hummus, avocado, seaweed, hemp and baobab, for example.
On the go and lighter options such as miniatures, bites and puffs are also increasingly in evidence, as is the search for the right balance between health and indulgence.