Natural Products Expo West

Mondelez: As snacking becomes more ‘purposeful' portion control becomes key

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags snacking

Nearly nine out of 10 consumers snack daily to fuel their busy days, carve out a mindful moment of ‘me time,’ and connect with family and friends – but according to Mondelez International’s recently released 5th State of Snacking report, what they are reaching for is changing.

“There is no doubt about it: Consumers are snacking more, more regularly and more often,” Richie Gray, vice president and global head of Mondelez International’s SnackFutures venture arm, told FoodNavigator-USA at Natural Products Expo West last month.

“There are a number of motivations for doing that, and what we see consumers tell us is it can be as simple as just taking your mind off everything that is going on in the world, or consumers talk about the joy of sharing their snacks with friends and family … and the third really interesting one for me is the ritualization that goes on with snacking, and we see that more and more,” he explained.

Whatever their reason, as consumers snack more they also are becoming more selective about what they eat and intentional in how they do it, he added.

“In the past, snacking was seen as something a little bit naughty … it was often mindless,” Gray said. “Now, we see consumers being much more purposeful and mindful in the choices that they are making.”

Trend #1: Portion control

In recent years, Gray said he has seen three major shifts in how consumers snack.

The first is they want healthier options and portion control, which allows them to indulge fully when they want.

“They are very conscious of what they are putting in their bodies and trying to make better choices,” he said.

For example, according to the 5th​ State of Snacking report, 67% of consumers surveyed say they want snacks that are portion controlled – up five percentage points from last year. Three-quarters also noted that they feel in control when moderating their snack portions, and seven in 10 say they would rather have a smaller portion of an indulgent snack than a larger portion of a low-fat option or product made with a sweetener other than sugar.

Trend #2: Sustainability

Snackers increasingly are making choices based on sustainability, including how their ingredients are sourced and how products are packaged, Gray said.

According to the State of Snacking report, 63% of consumers look for snacks that “minimize their environmental impact with actions such as carbon offsets," prioritizing local ingredients and optimizing supply chains for sustainability.

Packaging is another way that consumers evaluate snacks’ sustainability with 67% surveyed saying they prioritize snacks that have less plastic packaging.

Likewise, consumer interest in plant-based snacks is on the rise with 66% reporting that they believe “plant-based snacks are better for the future of our planet,” according to the report, which also found 57% of consumers are reducing meat consumption and 46% are eating less dairy.

Trend #3: Adventure seeking

The third emerging trend that Gray noted is an increased desire to experiment more through snacking, including looking for new tastes, textures and experiences.

Nearly seven in 10 global consumers told Mondelez that they “get excited when they have a new snack to try,” and 59% consider themselves “snack adventures,” according to The State of Snacking report.

In the US, 81% of consumers reported that novel flavor and texture combinations are important when choosing a snack.

How is Mondelez meeting these trends?

One way that Mondelez is meeting these emerging trends is by evolving its portfolio, in part through acquisitions, Gray said.

“We look for a few things. Number one, we are looking for businesses that are aligned with our core categories: chocolate, biscuits and baked snacks. But also businesses that we see as being disruptive to those categories that can be highly incremental to the market and highly incremental to Mondelez,” Gray said.

SnackFutures also prioritizes innovation that is catching consumers’ attention and which they will buy over and over, he added.

Looking forward, Gray said he is most interested in the “convergence of the well-being trend, the sustainability trend, and digitization … to really deliver even better consumer experiences.”

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