A nation of snackers

Menu items that contain the words "snack," "snackable" or "snacker" increased by 170 percent since 2007, and growth is expected to continue as restaurants explore the trend, according to recent research from Chicago-based Mintel Menu Insights, a division of Mintel International.

According to Mintel, 37 percent of respondents chose 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. as the most popular time slot to visit restaurants. Only 19 percent of respondents bought snacks from a restaurant between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and the average amount spent was $4.26 per person compared with $3.79 across all other time periods.

Mintel found 64 percent of respondents look for a beverage when snacking, whereas 61 percent opt for something portable. Respondents craving an indulgent snack totaled 52 percent, while 50 percent wanted something salty.

It's notable that only 32 percent of respondents chose a healthy option, which, according to Mintel, counteracts the health conscious trend being seen in the restaurant industry, as well as retail.