Americans love to snack! It’s seems like a lifetime ago that snacks were reserved as ‘special treats’. Not anymore, a study conducted by the Hartman Group found that Americans are consuming, on average, 2.3 snacks per day. I set out to find when Americans snack, what they consume when they snack, why they snack, and if this snacking is a trend or here to stay.
When Do Americans Snack?
Food has become part of every occasion in the United States from birthday parties to office meetings, the opportunity to snack is everywhere. According to the study by the Hartman Group:
- More than 41% of American adults enjoy at least two snacks per day
- While 24% of them have at least three snacks per day
- Followed by 17% having only one snack per day
- Most snacking occurs in the afternoon, evening and late-night hours
Why Do Americans Snack?
According to the Hartman study, 28% of adults snack because they want to enjoy an indulgent treat while 27% snack on impulse. Others snack because they feel stressed or anxious, or simply don’t feel like cooking or preparing a meal. However, additional research has shown that 36% of consumers who snack have healthier eating habits than consumers who do not snack as all.
So, Snacking Is Healthy?
And early research is showing that contrary to conventional wisdom, the more consumers snack, the healthier their eating behaviors are. In today’s fast paced world, consumer’s view snacking as one way to improve healthy eating habits. Consumers identify fruit, yogurt, and nutritional bars as their top picks for healthy snacks. Nutritionists recommend snacks including: edamame, hard boiled eggs, dried nuts and fruits and smoothies.
Is Snacking Here To Stay?
The verdict is in and snacking is here to stay! QSRWeb named ‘snacks’ as one of the top quick service restaurant trends for 2012, while the NRA named “half portions and small portions at low prices” as a top trend for 2013. Healthy snacks can actually help stabilize blood sugar levels, making it easier to curb consumer cravings at meal times.
With snack food brands including, Nabisco, Doritos, and Lays investing millions of dollars a year advertising their brands, snacking will continue to grow. Kraft Foods reports consumer response to snack foods is positive: snacking, when done in moderation, can help manage their hunger, weight, and energy levels.
One out of every five eating occasions in the United States is a snack, with more than half of all Americans eating 2 snacks per day – make your food choices count! Healthy snacking can lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle!