The study, titled 'Motivations and Attitudes US 2015', found that while 94% of American citizens snack at least once a day, 24% of millennials (ages 21 to 38) are prone to snacking four or more times per day. In comparison with 2014, 23% of millennials are snacking more this year.
Boredom and stress lend themselves to snacking
Why are millennials more insatiable snackers? The report shows:
• 27% snack because they’re bored.
• 17% snack due to levels of stress.
• 39% snack to help maintain their level of energy.
"Our research shows that Millennials are more likely to snack compared to older generations as a means to fulfill emotional and functional needs, including combating boredom or stress and increasing energy and focus,” Amanda Topper, food analyst at Mintel, said in the report. “Older consumers did not grow up with all-day snacking and may continue to view snacks as treats. Millennials are also more likely than older generations to indicate snacks with added nutrition and flavor variety are important to them.”
This is a big reason why there has been such a surge in the number of products containing additional fiber, protein, vitamins and other nutrients, as millennials are eating fewer meals and consuming more snacks. The American Psychological Association said 43% of Millennials are likely to say they skipped a meal in an effort to manage stress; much of this may also be due to the added snacking.
Topper added that this boredom in snacking is also likely to draw Millennials to “bold favors” in an effort to mix things up when they snack and alleviate boredom.
A Mintel report from earlier this year, titled 'Marketing to Millennials', said although there are 79m millennials in the US, they often ignore advertising and “scoff at attempts to understand or define them”. While this makes it a bit more difficult for companies to go all-in on a millennial marketing effort, statistics from July’s report from Mintel may help organizations home in on how to reach this younger generation.
Don’t forget the boomers
It’s more than just Millennials who enjoy their snacks. When it comes to adults 55 to 62 years old, 70% said they snack mainly to satisfy a craving, well above the 62% average in that category.
Earlier this month, Larry Levin, executive vice president of IRI, told Kacey Culliney of BakeryandSnacks.com that while millennials are seeing large growth in snacking, baby boomers still spend the majority of the money. Levin said this will still be true by the end of the decade, with millennials representing 30% of snack dollars and boomers representing 32%.