Snacking still an indulgent activity, Mintel finds

NEW YORK — While consumers may be growing more health-conscious with their food choices, it seems there is still room for life’s little indulgences, according to the latest research from Mintel, released last week. New research on snacking motivations from Mintel found that the top reason Americans said they snack is to treat themselves (50%) and more than one quarter (28%) agreed that taste is more important than health when choosing a snack.

“The importance of snacking in America is undeniable and it is creating more and more opportunity for companies and brands as snacking frequency increases, particularly among younger consumers," stated Beth Bloom, associate director US food and drink reports at Mintel. "While health is a factor for consideration in food and drink decisions, the majority of snackers do so for a treat, meaning even health-focused snacks should appeal with messages about enjoyment and indulgence," she said. "In recent years, brands have focused product innovation largely on cleaner formulations, highlighting an opportunity for innovative products with health attributes that appeal to health-conscious consumers.”

In addition to rewarding oneself, snacking for self-care continues to be a popular motivator as nearly two-in-five (37%) consumers said they snack to give themselves a break during the day and 24% snack to relieve stress. What’s more, one-in-six (17%) Americans snack today in order to control their weight, up from just 10% who said they snack to help them lose weight in 2015.

Despite the propensity to indulge, health plays a key role in the types of snacks consumers eat. One third (32%) of consumers said the majority of snacks they eat are healthy and more than one quarter (28%) said they are snacking on healthier foods this year than in 2016. In fact, snacks with health-related claims are among the fastest growing snack launches, with low/no/reduced allergen claims accounting for 46% of total new snack product launches in the U.S. in 2017, 30% more than in 2013, according to Mintel Global New Products Database.

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