Who is America’s top snack maker? According to new research from the NPD Group, it’s Mother Nature!Who is America’s top snack maker? According to new research from the NPD Group, it’s Mother Nature! ?The report, entitled Snacking in America, 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. Interestingly, seniors eat them most often, and children under 12 the second-most. This latest report is an accumulation of data collected over a two year period, ending in February 2012. ?Results also show that snacks represent 20% of eating occasions (lunch is 25%, dinner 27% and breakfast 28%)??The Lempert Report sees an opportunity here for supermarkets to make parents more comfortable purchasing snacks, 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. ?Here are just a few ideas:??· Placing signs and recipes throughout the store that suggest dairy, meat, cereal or other combinations with fruit.??· And 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).