Are single people across America to blame for an increase in snacking?
We've heard a lot recently about a growing attraction to snacking here in the US, and according to a new report, this growth in snack food consumption is largely driven by single people who are eating alone. This recent online survey from market research firm NPD Group showed that last year, the average American eating alone consumed a snack food as a meal 191 times, up from 167 times in 2011, equating to billions more snacks (and calories) every year.
Jill Weisenberger, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and author of “The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition.” was quoted in MarketWatch saying that people living alone often don’t want to cook and buy too many groceries that go bad before they’re used, which is one reason why people are buying more snack foods, as they are individually packaged and often have a very long shelf life.
According to researchers at the 2011 expo of the Institute of Food Technologists, around one-quarter of the average American’s daily calorie intake is due to snacks and essentially constitute a fourth meal. Furthermore, according to a 2014 survey of 60 countries by research group Nielsen, Americans have some of the worst snacking habits in the world. Fresh fruit is the No. 1 snack in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, . Latin Americans prefer yogurt. But the No. 1 snack in the U.S. is potato chips.
From this, retailers should remember that shoppers are looking for convenience and supermarkets should guide snackers to options that are satisfying, healthy and have nutritional benefits. Highlight deals on new, healthy snack products, offer displays with tips and snack suggestions pairing fruits and veggies with say, cheeses or nuts. And also, remind shoppers of the nutritional benefits of so many of the simple options, like apples or bananas! And for those single people who may prefer snacking to making a meal or risking having to throw away food, supermarkets could use this as a way to highlight their own prepared food options. Appeal to this group with inexpensive, healthy interesting options that can be eaten as a single meal, or frozen and kept for later.