Grocery retailers compete with foodservice sector to grab US snackers, says Mintel report

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Snack food, Mintel

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock
According to data by Mintel, 41% of surveyed consumers agreed that “packaged snacks from grocery stores are better than items from snack shops,” which means CPG retailers are stiff competition for the foodservice industry when it comes to satiating American's craving to snack.

Mintel’s report Snacking in Foodservice​” ​is centered on trends of purchases from snack stores such as donut shops, smoothie shops, ice cream parlors, cafés and other restaurants. But there are some valuable takeaways for the food and beverage CPG space as well.

For example, the data revealed that “making snacks portable for on-the-go consumption is still a desired quality with 67% of consumers aged 18-44 in agreement that snacks are best eaten while on-the-go,”​ the report said.

This is especially true for younger millennials, as only 26% of respondents aged 45 and older indicated portability as an influence to purchase a snack.

The divide between old and young also influenced preference for where snacks are bought. A whopping 63% of millennials said that they prefer getting their snacks from grocery stores than from specialty snack shops like ice cream parlors, bakeries and smoothie bars.

Healthy Snacking: A snack a day to keep the doctor away?

Another point that stood out in the report was that consumers were willing to pay more for snacks with ingredients they perceive to be high quality.

“As Americans move away from traditional meal occasions, snacking more throughout the day, consumers are seeking healthier snacking options,”​ a spokesperson for Mintel said. “New research [reveals] that three in four (73 percent) consumers are willing to pay extra for snacks made with high quality ingredients.”

How much more? It depends on the product. An online poll on 506 US consumers conducted by supplier Lycored, for example, found that 88% are willing to pay a premium​ of nearly 50% of retail price more for food and drink formulated with natural ingredients.

The trend to healthier was seen across demographic groups, Mintel found. “It’s also interesting to point out that consumers 55+ (53%) are more likely to indicate this is a key driver than those who are between 13-34 (47%),” ​the report said.

More for indulgence than energy

Indulgence remains a key factor in driving consumers’ decision to buy snacks. Mintel’s data found that “60% of consumers cited treating themselves as a reason for buying food and drink form a specialty snack shop compared to 27% who buy these items as a source of energy.”

This trend conflicts with the quest for healthy. There were 69% of respondents aged 18-44 who said the best snacks are indulgent as opposed to healthy.

But more consumers see snacks as an everyday indulgence than as a treat for a special occasion. In fact, Mintel’s data found that three in five (64%) of consumers agree that “snacking is necessary to get through the day, including 77% of millennials.”

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