Fruit’s day in the sun

February 28, 2013

Fruit is a basis for healthy snacks—and supermarkets can leverage this to build sales energy storewide.

Who is America’s top snack maker?

Mother Nature, according to findings of a new NPD Group report, Snacking in America, which identifies fresh fruit as the most-consumed snack of all.  It tops #2 chocolate by 10 occasions per year and #3 potato chips by 25.

Seniors eat them most often, and children under 12 the second-most.

Snacks represent 20% of eating occasions (lunch is 25%, dinner 27% and breakfast 28%), show NPD/CREST data for the two-year research period ended February 2012.  

The Lempert Report sees opportunity here for supermarkets to make moms shopping with and for their kids more comfortable with their choices, and to enhance the store image as a destination for healthy eating.  

How?  Snacking is one of our favorite activities.  Supermarkets that help people do it smarter will gain points for an assist when they achieve personal health/weight goals without having to snack less.  Since frequent eating stokes metabolism and aids digestion, we at TLR feel it’s wrong to demonize snacking and right to guide consumers instead.  

A couple of ideas:

  • Signs and recipes throughout the store that suggest dairy, meat, cereal or other combinations with fruit.
  • Sampling.  Shoppers cluster at the Trader Joe’s sample stations for the tiniest free bites of the store-brand foods.  Supermarkets could raise the nutritional bar by adding an apple slice or a couple of seedless grapes to samples of cereal or oat bars.

Ideas like these could help move the needle on healthy snacking—which NPD findings indicate need to improve.   Just 20% of Americans eat to a ‘most healthy’ snack profile (a 136 index on this activity of eating fruit, yogurt, bars), 43% snack to a ‘moderately healthy’ profile (99 index), and 37% snack to a ‘least healthy’ profile (71 index).