People all around the world love to snack which is apparent when looking at the results of Nielsen’s Global Survey of Snacking. This $374 billion industry just keeps growing and it isn’t the biggest snackers on the planet, Americans and Europeans, driving most of that growth. While the total year over year increase in money spent on snacks increased by 2% globally, it was the up and coming snackers in regions like Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle-East (9%, 5%, and 4% respectively) that helped fuel the increase.
When it comes to what kind of snacks we like, there are two main drivers, taste, which is obvious, and health considerations, which isn’t. In fact, the survey showed that these two are almost equal in importance and that when it comes to choosing the snack we want; we aren’t really interested in compromising.
Although many people might think of ‘sweets’ when they hear ‘snacks’, the savory snack category is actually growing faster than any other category. These are the snacks that we most often use to replace a regular meal which is one reason this category is growing so fast. Things like crackers, rice cakes, meat jerky, yogurt, and cheese are all experiencing the fastest-growth in almost every region.
This underscores one of the key findings of the survey – when it comes to snacking, consumers are focused on how those snacks can help or hurt their health. Traditional sweet snacks like cookies and confections still reign supreme when it comes to snack sales but as the focus shifts more and more to snacking healthy, it is the snacks that are seen as ‘healthy’ that are driving sales and growth.
When it comes to how we choose our healthy snacks or how we decide if a snack is healthy or not, ingredients matter. What our snacks contain or what they do not contain is one of the most important factors we consider when choosing a healthy snack. When asked to rank 20 different attributes that are important when choosing a healthy snack almost half of those who participated in the survey put snacks with all natural ingredients at the top of the list. We also want snacks that are high in fiber and protein and those that are made with whole grains.
What is not in our snacks is almost as important as what is when it comes to what we choose. The demand for specialty snacks like those that do not contain caffeine or that are gluten-free are also seeing an increase in demand. Demand for snacks that are low in sugar, salt, fat, carbohydrates, and calories is also increasing as the focus shifts from sugary sweet snacks to healthy snacks. Other key factors included the lack of artificial colors, genetically modified organisms, and artificial flavors.
The survey collected information from more than 30,000 consumers from more than 60 countries in their online campaign. Participants were asked to provide information on which attributes affected their snack selections in categories like health, taste, and texture. For more information about the survey, visit Nielsen’s website.
Fill Your Plate has a great mix of recipes including desserts that might satisfy that snack attack urge in you.