Millennials and their Snacks

The Lempert Report
June 05, 2015

If you’ve got your eyes on Millennials, snacks and candy are the new breakfast food...

At the recently held 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo hosted by the National Confectioners Association, product manufacturers were told that confectionary makers are eyeing the breakfast table with candies and snacks that have flavors ranging from maple and yogurt to peaches, cream and bacon.

According to Larry Levin, executive vice president at IRI, the market research firm, changes in snacks and candies are being pushed by millennials who like to experiment with flavor combinations such as coconut and bacon, honey, cream and coffee and wasabi.

“Millennials have a grazing mentality and are multicultural in nature,” Levin said at the conference. “Because of their experimental nature, they are changing how the snacks market is evolving.”  He said millennials also prefer smaller portions that that match their on-the-go lifestyles, and they tend to check product labels for attributes such as organic, natural and non-genetically modified and also research social media sites for reviews of snacks and treats.

Nutritional health bars posted the fastest growth among snacks; health-conscious consumers like protein bars and meat snacks because of their perceived nutritional value. Potato chips are the most consumed snack in the U.S. with a market share of 19 percent, followed by tortilla chips (12 percent), nuts (12 percent), salted snacks (10 percent) and nutritional bars (7 percent).

Levin said convenience stores are the most preferred channel for buying snacks and candies due to “on-the-go snacking by millennials seeking passionate treats at affordable prices.”

While nailing down the wants of the millennial generation can be somewhat elusive, a few trends do seem to be consistent. Snacking fits into the millennial generations “on the go” lifestyle, and with that, convenience, price and interesting flavors are important.  So whether its’ with prepared foods or highlighting snack aisles, retailers who focus on foods to fit these trends should do well this group.