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Snacking between meals is up yet again amongst Canadians

April 06 2018

Canadians are snacking between meals more often today than in 2016, according to a new study.

Snacking has been on the rise for the past five years and the types of snacks consumers are reaching for is evolving to include a wider variety of foods and beverages, so says Technomic’s 2018 Canadian Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report.

The report found that more than half (55 per cent) of consumers snack between meals at least twice a day, while over a third (36 per cent) are more likely than usual to snack when they are feeling stressed.

Additionally, two-thirds (66 per cent) purchase snacks from coffee shops or cafes at least once every three months.

What kind of snacks are consumers reaching for?

In more than two-fifths (42 percent) of snacking instances, people are fulfilling their snacking urge with a mix of food and beverages, such a bowl of nachos and a milkshake.

A similar proportion (41 percent) would just go for the food, while 16 percent bridge the gap between meals with a beverage.

Why is snacking on the up?

The obvious driving factor is hunger; people primarily snack because they’re hungry.

However, other common snacking triggers are boredom and mindless eating, while some are forced to snack due to a hectic work-life schedule and time constraints.

A desire for convenience is also believed to why more than a third of consumers are replacing at least one meal a day with snacks.

With so many different drivers, snacking occasions are somewhat unpredictable and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

More than a third (36 percent) of Canadians say they are more likely to snack when they’re feeling stressed. Just over a quarter (28 percent) said they snack when they’re happy or anxious, or sad (27 percent).

How can restaurants take advantage of the snacking trend?

Making your food more convenient is a broad way to capitalize on consumers’ increased snacking. You can do this by offering smaller, takeaway-style variants on some of your most popular dishes.

If you can somehow find a way lengthen the shelf-life of these portable dishes, consumers will be susceptible to buy.

Comment

Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic, said: “Data points to greater opportunity to drive incremental sales through snacking occasions. As snacking becomes more common, health will play a larger role.

“Offering and promoting better-for-you attributes that resonate with consumers, such as ‘high protein’ and ‘high fibre’ will be vital in helping foodservice steal share of snacking occasions from retailers.”