Snacking – the New Way of Eating

There’s a new snacking culture in the US and like with every other industry across business verticals, millennials are having a significant impact on the CPG food category due to their prolific love of snacking. According to Mintel, millennials are more likely than any other generation to snack four times a day or, in many cases, more than that. Overall 94% of Americans are snacking at least once per day. As a result, the CPG industry registered its strongest growth in four years primarily because of the uptick in sales for snacking brands. For millennials, snacking is a necessity that has shifted the dominant meal occasion of their day from a meal to a snack. When millennials snack, they are making purchase decisions based on Self, Society, And Planet.

SELF: “How is the food I am buying enhancing the quality of life for my family or for
myself?”

There has been a shift in popularity from foods that eliminate bad ingredients to those that have added positive ingredients, such as vitamins and other nutrients. Millennials – as well as health-conscious consumers – have a desire for clean, organic, less-processed and few-ingredient product choices. Similar to the overall food industry, GMO-free, antibiotic free, additive free and locally sourced products are increasingly sought after,

SOCIETY: “What good is the company contributing to the broader community it serves?”

As the largest consumer group, millennials are paying attention to what all brands are doing in regards to cause programs, employee wages, manufacturing standards, employee policies and community support – even when it comes to buying a snack. They expect businesses to put in real effort when it comes to adding good to the communities they partner with and the workers they employ.

PLANET: “What is the brand doing to add well to the world we live in?’

This conversation is no longer just about what’s in products but also about eco-social issues including animal handling, land practices and management of water, energy, and waste. Value versus values comes into play here, as millennials are willing to buy the products that emphasize their personal values of self, society, and planet even in comparison to other products that might offer great value in terms of cost.

This cultural shift can only benefit us all. If brands have to think about more than just launching another snack brand, or adding another flavor to an existing line, and really look at the impact their products have on the planet, society and every potential consumer, then conscious consumerism can really have an impact.

As a conscious consumer, we can seek out ways to make positive decisions about what to buy and the impact that purchasing decision has on the environment and our health and life in general.

Sue Taggart