Consumers Continue To Snack & Seek Healthier Choices

Acosta Group has released a new study on the American consumer when it comes to snacking and candy. According to its survey, Acosta found 61% of higher income households choose healthy snacks over junk food, and of total snack buyers, 15% say it's important for snacks to be natural or organic.

According to the survey, 40% of shoppers say they've eaten a large bag of salty snacks in one sitting, and that percentage rose to 74% for Gen Z and 60% for Millennials. Another 43% of those surveyed say they're usually snacking at night, and 32% often snack as a meal. 

When it comes to the types of snacks consumers are turning to, Millennials are large purchasers of frozen snacks and sides, granola and cereal bars, protein and nutrition bars and dried meat or jerky. Millennials also like snacking on-the-go, with 74% snacking at work and 63% snacking when traveling.

"We wanted to learn more about the shopper path to purchase by understanding when and why shoppers are snacking, as well as where and what they're buying on different occasions or shopping trips," said Kathy Risch, SVP of Consumer Insights and Trends at Acosta Group. "We discovered consumer shopping preferences and generational differences that inform how brands and retailers can best meet the needs of today's consumers."  

The trend of healthy eating is a big part when choosing the types of snack products consumers want. According to the study, shoppers are choosing evenly between healthy snacks (49%) and "junk food" (51%), but 61% of higher income households choose healthy snacks. Of total snack buyers, 15% want only healthy and natural snacks.

For candy buyers, chocolate is preferred (82%) over non-chocolate, with 54% of shoppers saying they eat more candy than they should. Four in 10 are eating candy at least once a day, with Millennials and higher income households eating more. Citing high prices and health concerns, 30% of shoppers reported they are buying less candy than last year. Acosta also warned candy sales could be at risk due to the increased use of self-checkout, preferred by over 70% of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. More than 25% of all candy sales occur at checkout.