Survey Reveals Consumer Snacking Behaviors

SymphonyIRI's 2012 Consumer Snacking Survey reveals more than one-third of the population often eats snacks instead of meals when on-the-go.

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The U.S. is home to an on-the-go population. SymphonyIRI's 2012 Consumer Snacking Survey reveals that more than one-third of the population often eats snacks instead of meals when on-the-go. Indeed, this is one of the factors leading to increased snacking frequency. Manufacturers across many food and beverage categories are catering to consumers' on-the-go eating and drinking behaviors. In 2011, 37 percent of successful new food and beverage launches touted quicker or more portable attributes, versus an historical average of 28 percent. Thanks to the escalation of new technologies and new designs, manufacturers are making it faster and easier to enjoy a wide array of foods and beverages at and from home.

With products such as Gerber Yogurt Blends, even the country's youngest consumers are enjoying more portable home-based meal and snack options. Specially prepared and packaged to require no refrigeration before opening, this product introduces yogurt to babies, and is rich in calcium, and vitamins A, D & E. For those consumers looking for quick-preparation, yet premium quality meal options, products such as Marie Callender's Fresh Flavor Steamers, with fresh flavors, rich textures, and the comforting taste of a homemade meal that is steamed to perfection in the microwave, are really hitting the mark with time-starved consumers.

Bite me
Percent Of New Product Pacesetters Offering Convenience
  Historical trend
2011
 2002-2011
  Extra convenience, added
  portability, ready-to-use
37
    28
  Bite size, hand-held, snack form
20
    14
Source: SymphonyIRI New Product Profiler
Bite-sized and/or handheld foods are also on the increase. One in five of 2011's Pacesetter's come in bite-sized or handheld form, a marked increase versus historical trends. Kellogg's achieved Pacesetter status with two on-the-go breakfast options in 2011. For consumers seeking a healthier-for-you option, Nutri-Grain Superfruit Fusion is a line of cereal bars with strawberry acai or cherry pomegranate flavored filling, antioxidants, vitamins C & E, and a hearty whole grain texture. Those seeking a bit of indulgence can also grab breakfast on the go with Pop-Tarts Mini Crisps, which offer the joylicious taste of Pop-Tarts toaster pastries flavor packed into 100-calorie pouches of flavored baked crispy bites.

Certainly, bite-sized and handheld options are not limited to the breakfast arena. From handheld entrees, such as TGI Friday's Anytime! Sliders, to bite-sized chocolates, including Wonka Exceptionals, bite-sized and handheld options that make on-the-go eating more manageable are hitting the mark with today's busy consumers.

Building excitement is a focus in the food arena, as well. Unilever's Magnum is a first in handheld premium ice creams targeted specifically at the adult market. High-end ingredients, such as vanilla bean ice cream and Belgian chocolate are bringing the ice cream parlor right into consumers' freezers (they recently introduced mini versions).
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