Convenience Precipitates Growth

Food producers are rushing to create new additions for the Millennial driven snack category that is already performing well and shows the potential for more growth to come.

Action seekers in the Consumer Packaged Goods food industry are moving toward snacks. Many US consumers are deconstructing the formal sit down meals of yesterday in favor of snacks on the go[1] and desire foods that are a match with their bustling lifestyles.[2] When a larger meal is called for, the goals are that it requires little effort and be prepared quickly.[3]

“This shift is largely being led by millennials, many of whom are single and live in fast-paced urban environments and who overwhelmingly prefer convenient and quick meals as opposed to the standard traditional sit-down meals of previous generations,” reports global market research company, Euromonitor International, in their March 2017 report, Packaged Food in the US.[4] In this category boasting impressive sales, shoppers demand mobility with their snacks.[5]

The Pew Research Center notes that “Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates released [in April 2016] by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand its ranks.”[6]

Food and beverage trend research company, The Hartman Group explains, “Snacks differ from meals in three distinct ways. Typically, snacks are viewed as:

  • Smaller size. Even if the small eating happens at a mealtime, it is often thought of as a stand-in until the next “large eating.”
  • Between times. Snacks intuitively fall in the gray areas between socially/culturally assigned “mealtimes.”
  • Low prep & cleanup. Snacks typically involve little to no construction or preparation; any heating is brief and unattended.”[7]

Sales of foods in the snack category continue to significantly surpass those of other packaged foods.[8]  Furthermore, Euromonitor International points out that “combined sales of biscuits, snack bars, savory snacks, confectionery, ice cream, bakery snacks (cakes and pastries) and yoghurt increased by a [compound annual growth rate (CAGR)] of 3% between 2011 and 2016 – nearly double the 2% CAGR of the remaining packaged food market (dominated by dairy, breakfast cereals, oils and fats, processed meat, processed fruit and vegetables and sauces, dressings and condiments).”[9]

According to the Hartman Group, “Snacking represents a significant and dynamic portion of nearly everyone’s daily eating and drinking behaviors:

  • Nine in ten (90 percent) of consumers snack multiple times throughout the day.
  • Seven percent of these consumers forego meals altogether in favor of all-day snacking.
  • Eighty percent of all snacking is purposeful, meaning it fulfills a physical, emotional, social or cultural desire.
  • Twenty percent of all snacking is aimless and is driven by an awareness of the availability of food, rather than the fulfillment of any particular physical, emotional, social or cultural desire.”[10]

The snack category may be an area of continued growth as meal time rules wane and eating occasions which feature quick, portable foods become more of the norm.

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[1] Hartman Group. “As Snackification in Food Culture Becomes More Routine, Traditional Mealtimes Get Redefined.” Feb 16 2016. Hartbeat Newsletter blog. Accessed on 19 May 2017.  Retrieved from

[2] Euromonitor International.

[3] Euromonitor International.

[4] Euromonitor International.

[5] Euromonitor International.

[6] Fry, Richard. “Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation.” 25 Apr 2016. Pew Research Center Fact Tank. Accessed on 19 May 2017. Retrieved from

[7] Hartman Group.

[8] Euromonitor International.

[9] Euromonitor International.

[10] Hartman Group.