Future of Snacking

Do you know what prosumers are? If you’re in the snack food business, you should know because they are shaping the future of your industry.


Prosumers are millennials who’ve been raised to educate themselves about the things they buy, including pricing, brand history and business practices, and, when it comes to foodstuffs, nutritional information. Thanks to the proliferation of the internet and the reliable information that’s now readily available to millennial parents, these prosumers are able to use their digital devices to make informed purchasing decisions.

This requires food manufactures to operate with complete transparency. This also means in-store education is no longer sufficient to satiate the need for information Millennials have.

Impact of Millennial Parents’ Snacking Habits

There are approximately 11.6 million households run by millennial parents that have children in them. With about 76 percent of millennial parents discussing their purchasing decisions with their entire family, including their kids, the snacking habits of Millennials aren’t just changing the snacking behavior of their own generation. They’re also shaping the way future generations will behave when it comes to snacking.

As millennial parents become increasingly concerned about what their children are consuming, they’re making healthier snacking options more and more popular. This, in turn, is changing the snacking behavior of their children because their kids’ snack preferences are naturally changing as a result of their parents’ influence.

Here are some current trends in snacking driven by Millennials:

  • Healthier snacks, such as fruits, protein bars and vegetables are taking the place of high-fat and sugar-laden alternatives
  • Snacks that have high protein content, including nuts and granola bars, are rising in popularity
  • Snacks that are ready to go and convenient are becoming the preferred choice among Millennial parents

The Power of Snacking

According to a report entitled “Why We Snack: The Future of Snacking 2016,” consuming snacks now accounts for over 50 percent of the instances in which people eat or drink. Snacking has changed how treats, meals and beverages are consumed, marketed and advertised.

The Institute For The Future, or IFTF, recently examined how women in America make their way through an ever-changing food landscape with the things they do in their day-to-day lives. As the result of its research, IFTF reported that over the next ten years, the evolving food landscape will allow women to:

  • Compile their own trustworthy reliable information sources
  • Select healthy snacks for themselves as well as their family members
  • Focus on the simple pleasure of eating

Americans’ New Snacking Behavior

While Millennial parents drive significant changes and women master a changing food landscape, the population as a whole has changed its snacking behavior so much in recent decades that the lines between snacking and mealtimes are no longer clear. As recently as the 1980s, 70 percent of Americans said they tried not to snack during the day. Today, just 40 percent of Americans try to avoid snacking.

It’s not just that more consumers are snacking. It’s also how they’re consuming their snacks. Americans are eating their snacks with their meals so regularly that the revenue from snacks consumed with meals may reach $86.4 billion by 2018.

Food Industry Growth

With the number of people who snack three to four times daily increasing 20 percent between 2009 and 2012, food manufacturers recognize snacks as food items that will drive growth in the food industry. In the future, some industry experts predict, snacking will become so prevalent people won’t just eat snacks with their main meals. They will start to eat snacks instead of full meals.

According to Symphony IRI, “calories that count” and “health and wellness” are two of the three leading snack trends. With over 75 percent of parents claiming they shop for snacks that have nutrients, food companies such as General Mills are starting to use health and ingredient claims to promote their products.

It’s clear the relationship many Americans have with their snacks is driving growth in the food industry. It’s also obvious consumers’ snacking behavior is influencing many aspects of their lives, including their purchasing decisions, dining choices and children’s snack preferences.

How will your snacking behavior affect you and the members of your household in the future?

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