The graze craze: Snacking’s evolution

Consumers’ shifting snacking preferences may seem like a topic of passing interest at first glance, but the impact it’s having and will continue to have is really quite remarkable.

The idea of snacks as a “fourth meal” (snacks represent ~1/4 of daily calories consumed) is a pretty fundamental shift on its own. After all, U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a few years ago that Americans snack twice as often as they did in the late 1970s and snacks now represent ~50% of all eating occasions.

Arctic apples kids snack plateWith the sharp rise in snacking largely coinciding with rising obesity rates (>1/3 of U.S. adults are obese) it may be tempting to look at the rise of snacking as a negative development. There’s no doubt snacking can easily be part of the problem when the snacks are primarily high in fat and low in nutrients. But, the good news is that’s the case less and less often.

An article last week from Food Business News, “Party of one – Snacking on specialty foods”, shared some key insights from recent research by The Hartman Group. The findings demonstrate that most consumers continue to snack more and more frequently, and that “smaller, healthier options, often distinct and different, increasingly are appealing.” That’s especially true since “grazing has become an all-day activity for many”.

One graphic in particular, “How snacking behaviors have changed”, provides a great snapshot of the encouraging types of snacks consumers are gravitating to. The majority of consumers surveyed said that, compared to five years ago, they are snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables, choosing healthier options and electing for smaller snacks more often than they used to. Additionally, larger snacks, indulgent snacks, and snacking when bored are chosen 40% less often.

And hey, we just happen to know of a very snackable upcoming product that’s a healthy, fresh fruit option that’s easier than ever to eat in smaller portions thanks to a certain Arctic Advantage™!

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About Joel Brooks

Growing up in the Okanagan Valley, Joel had the opportunity to experience apple growing first hand, a background that helped lead him to his role as Product & Special Projects Manager. Joel feels privileged to work with such great people towards a goal that’s so easy to get behind – helping people to eat more apples!