fewer consumers trade three square meals a day for on-the-go grazing,
marketers can take advantage by presenting their product lines as
holistic alternatives across multiple day-parts and eating occasions.
instance, yogurt is a quadruple threat of indulgent treat, hunger
solution, lunch substitute, and mid-morning snack. Meantime, vegetable
juice varieties such as V8 are more than a beverage; they are also a
snack if marketers adopt the proper marketing mindset.
behooves marketers to accelerate this mentality because the propensity
for mini meals, coupled with on-the-go snacking, has shot up 5% since
2009, said Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive/general manager, client
insights, for Chicago-based SymphonyIRI Group.
“There is a
growing need by consumers to stay satiated throughout the day with mini
meals, and 24% of consumers say they now snack instead of consume meals.
This marks a radical change in eating habits,” said Lyons Wyatt.
referenced a “share of stomach” survey and the role snacking now
assumes. As it relates to U.S. consumer tendencies, she said, “The short
answer is ‘all day long.'”
Leading the top 10 snack categories
were yogurt, crackers, granola bars (led by South Beach and Clif Bar),
and salty snacks. What these leading categories have in common was
“strong innovation,” she said. Yogurt, for instance, produced 7.4%
dollar-sales growth in 2012—well above the snack industry growth average
of 4%. Lyons Wyatt singled out Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt as a premium
brand that’s leading the charge.
Who is snacking and when is just
as crucial for marketers to understand as what they are snacking on.
Lyons Wyatt said millennials (those born in the early 1980s) are more
likely to start snacking early in the day, while those older than 55
years old snack less in the morning hours, but pick up the pace
throughout the day. This tendency is driven by the fact that boomers are
living longer and have more on-the-go and extracurricular activities
than in years past.
These snacking trends bode well for
marketers, said Lyons Wyatt, but pricing strategies must be carefully
mapped out and executed. “Consumers want their favorite snack brands at
reasonable and regular prices, and are not interested in hunting for the
best prices,” she said. “Marketers need to price right every day and
establish a value proposition. Two out of three consumers actively look
for the best snack value as they make buying decisions.”
38% of consumers said snack decisions are influenced by price, more
appear willing to buy larger sizes of all types of snack
products—premium brands included—to achieve long-term savings. In
particular, Lyons Wyatt shared, millennials are prone to “pay more to
Half of consumers turn to both dollar stores and
private-label brands when budgets are tight. In fact, Lyons Wyatt
pointed to a phenomenon known as the “dollar impact,” where regular-size
gum is viewed as a poor value if costing more than a dollar, and other
products are in the same bucket.
Despite tighter budgets,
consumers are still willing to splurge occasionally as they strike a
balance between wellness and indulgent eating. “More consumers seek that
balance. Many want to eat healthier, but they also want a moment to eat
what tastes good without worrying about the healthy options.”
general, Lyons Wyatt encouraged snack marketers to “expand their
horizons and think outside the snack aisles, especially when considering
the competitive shifts” occurring within snack marketing. (Steve Dwyer,
Convenience Store Products: www.cspnet.com)