Snacking has become increasingly popular in recent years—and shows no signs of slowing down.
In 2018, 80% of consumers snacked at least once a day.1 Two years later, 88% of adults surveyed for Mondelēz International’s 2020 State of Snacking™ report said they were noshing between meals just as much as—or more than—they did in 2019.2
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Rooted in the better-for-you foodservice trend, consumer appetite for plant-based products is continuing its growth spurt. Given the prevalence of a more mindful approach to food consumption, especially among wellness-oriented millennials, plants seem to have found ample fertile ground for market growth.
With 76% of U.S. adults surveyed in agreement that plant-based foods are healthy, many consumers find them an important asset that helps them maintain or improve their well-being, according to the market intelligence firm Mintel.1 Consumers surveyed find plant-based protein an advantage that helps them achieve wellness goals like weight management (31%).1
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As the grab-and-go foodservice trend continues to take hold of busy millennials, the definition of snacking seems to shift further from between-meal treat to convenient meal replacement. Recent survey results show that 92% of millennials eat snacks as meals at least once a week, 50% four times a week and 26% a minimum of seven times a week.1
With close to 40% of millennial survey participants saying a sit-down meal is too time-consuming and 17% “can’t be bothered to cook a meal,” speed and convenience are key reasons for the snack-as-meal-substitute phenomenon.1 Snacks present a low-cost, smaller portioned food solution that fits their active lifestyles. Nearly half rank convenience as the most important factor in choosing a snack.2
Mintel has a strong feeling that texture will take hold as a major snack trend in 2018. Based on input from 60 expert analysts in more than a dozen countries,1 the global market and research firm has identified a wave of “new sensations”—the sensory experiences consumers enjoy from the mouthfeel of foods and beverages with distinctive textures—as a projected sales catalyst with a worldwide impact, according to Mintel’s Global Food & Drink Trends 2018.2
Color has made a splash as a sensory experience, as shown by the popularity of unicorn-colored foods and beverages. Like colorful concepts, texture can provide share-worthy experiences for social media feeds. It can even take the connection deeper, touching off a tactile reaction in a youth market hungry for bold flavor adventures.
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It’s all good when it comes to whole grains, which seem to be on the front lines of the feeding frenzy for better-for-you fare. According to the International Food Information Council’s 2017 Food and Health Survey, 84% of consumers recognize whole grains as good for you, placing the foodservice staple among the top three wellness-promoting components (only vitamin D and fiber edged higher).1
What’s more, 65% of survey participants reported that they are eating more whole grain foods compared to years past. And while millennials are known as a driving force of the better-for-you foodservice trend, results showed that adults between the ages of 50 and 80 (70%) are even more likely to step up their whole grain consumption than 18-49 year olds (62%).1