Americans' food culture is rapidly evolving. The boundary between meals and snacking is blurring. Eating three regular meals a day is now becoming a practice of a bygone era. Snacking is now the new normal. We're now a nation of snackers.
Today, snacking is half of all food and beverage occasions. 94% of adults snack at least once daily and 50% snack two to three times a day. 37% of the time snacking replaces a meal. 7% of consumers are foregoing meals altogether in favor of all day snacking.
The definition of what a snack is has changed.
The snackification of food culture is also creating a disassociation with daypart and food type. Consumers are making different choices depending on the time of day. They're often choosing healthier snacks earlier in the day and more indulgent ones in the evening. The same food may be an in-between meal snack one day, a lunch the next and an afternoon munchie another day. This means that consumers are choosing different types of food than what was traditionally considered a snack.
Health-minded consumers want nutritious ingredients, especially plant-based proteins such as beans, soy, nuts and seeds. They are also looking for better-for-you and free-from (clean) snacks with natural flavors and colors.
There are generational differences in snacks
Younger adults are shaping the evolution of snacks. They prefer bold, strong flavors and are driving the rise of healthier snacks.
Today food, including snacks, is increasingly about flavor adventure and discovery. Exploring global flavors is in. Snacks allow consumers to try something fun, new and exciting with minimal risk.
The snackification of food culture opens up a great opportunity for CLVs if instead of the tradition more junk snack options, they offer snacking options that meet the preferences for today's snacking consumers. This means that a variety of light fare selections (from healthy to indulgent) need to be available all day so the CLV's restaurant will gain the reputation as a destination not just for main meals, but also for social snacking occasions.