Snacking - Eating into Mealtimes?

Published: 8 June 2016

Whilst the snacking sector has been in growth for several years, what is interesting is how snacking has extended its reach across such a broad range of categories and occasions - health and indulgence, energy and weight management are only a few. It’s no longer led by the confectionery category; slow-release high-energy cereals, low-fat high-protein meat, conveniently pre-peeled and pre-sliced fresh fruits are now key staples in the snacking sector.

Consumers refuse to be restricted by the traditional ‘rule’ of three meals a day and as a result we have seen an increase in pressure on innovation and product development to keep up with these changing trends. To start the day, consumers want to grab an ‘on the go’ fuel-filled snack that will power them through to lunchtime, where there is often little opportunity to get a traditional lunch. Evenings can be filled with post-workout protein boosts or an indulgent treat to finish the day.

This is where smaller and more niche brands have been able to adapt quicker. Whether its brands like Tyrrells, Metcalfe’s, Eat Natural, Graze or Nakd, they all satisfy our snacking need or have cleverly created one! And it is more than likely that originally the trend gained momentum because suppliers were able to provide not only healthy products but tasty ones. Let’s be honest, if consumers don’t like the taste there is very little chance that the ‘health’ angle alone will hook them.

We cannot ignore the fact that consumers are fickle, and this can only help to present more opportunities for manufacturers to launch new products and enter new markets. But longer term, success for the brand lies in its ability to keep close to its consumer, understand their tastes, needs and changing lifestyle habits.  As with all purchases, consumers want ‘added value’ and snack choice is no exception, whether that be health, energy, weight management benefits etc.

Whatever the reason to snack, the once so obvious lines between snacks and traditional mealtimes are clearly, fading therefore manufacturers and retailers need to stay one step ahead if they are going to remain competitive or become a ‘snack of choice’!

Alka Gandhi is a Principal Consultant in the Consumer and FMCG Practice

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