CHICAGO (PRNewswire) — Snack consumption is on the rise, as half of today's consumers (51 percent) say that they eat snacks at least twice a day, an increase from the 48 percent who said the same in 2012. And about a third of consumers (31 percent) told Technomic they're snacking more frequently than they were just two years ago.
Not only are consumers snacking more often, they're broadening their definition of a "snack." These days, a wider range of foods—and beverages—are now viewed as snacks, and convenience stores and other retailers are sparking competition with restaurants in order to meet the growing demand.
"Snacking occasions represent a growth channel for restaurant operators," said Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic, Inc. "The retail market is aggressively promoting snacks, but there's plenty of room for restaurants to expand their snack programs and grab share. By providing more innovative, healthy and easily portable snacks, and boosting variety, restaurants can position themselves to increase incremental traffic and sales—particularly among a younger customer base."
To help foodservice executives understand the latest behaviors, preferences and attitudes of consumers regarding snacking, Technomic has published an update of its Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report . Interesting findings include:
- Consumers eat snacks both between meals and as meal replacements: Nearly half of consumers (49 percent) eat snacks between meals and 45 percent replace one or two daily meals with a snack.
- Forty-five percent of consumers who order snacks at restaurants order from the dollar or value menu.
- Fifty percent of consumers indicate that healthfulness is very important to them when choosing a snack.
- Portability is increasingly vital: 60 percent of today's consumers, compared to 55 percent in 2012, cite portability as an important or extremely important factor when choosing a snack.
Technomic's Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report  provides comprehensive research on the latest menu and consumer trends for snacks, organized into five sections:
Menu Insights—uses Technomic's exclusive MenuMonitor  data to show year-over-year menu development of snacks at restaurant chains in the Top 500 segment.
Consumer Insights—analyzes consumer attitudes, behaviors, preferences and attitudes about snacks, based on findings from a nationally representative survey of more than 1,500 U.S. consumers.
Competitive Insights—helps operators better understand how their concept compares to more than 20 leading restaurants and retail foodservice locations with regard to snacks.
Outlook: Trends to Watch—explores emerging menu, concept and consumer trends that are poised to impact how restaurant operators promote snacks in the future.
Profiles—appendices feature in-depth profiles for 10 trend-setting foodservice brands featuring menus and service formats that are positioned around snacks.
Technomic publishes a complete library of consumer trend reports . To learn more, please visit Technomic.com  or contact one of the individuals listed below. For Technomic updates, please follow us on Twitter , LinkedIn  or our blog .
Snack consumption is on the rise, as half of today's consumers say they eat snacks at least twice a day, an increase from the 48 percent who said the same in 2012. And about a third of consumers told Technomic they're snacking more frequently than they were just two years ago.