Increase in snacking occasions
With all the activities that kids are involved in, it’s no wonder that kids today are snacking as much as they are to give them the food they need quickly, and on the go. “On average Canadian children between the ages of six to 12 are eating 4.2 snacks per day, mostly to fill hunger gaps between breakfast, lunch and dinner.”1 This represents an increase when almost a decade ago (back in 2006) kids’ snacking trended towards three times a day.2
The increase in childhood snacking should not be a surprise to anyone as it appears to be mirroring the general snacking trends of adult consumers. As snacking now “represents 50% of eating occasions”3 the role snacks play appears to be expanding from not just an occasional treat but mini-meal option, everyday healthy indulgence and as a quick energy boost. In fact, “snacks make up 11% of meal occasions” according to Nielsen.4
Trending kids snack options
According to Joel Gregoire, NPD Group, “Age three is the peak age for snacking. The most popular snacks for children overall are yogurt, cookies and snack bars.” “Moms tend to have a set lunch box of five items which also includes the classic choices of an apple and mini-carrots” as quoted by Logan Chambers, PepsiCo Canada1. However, a quick internet search revealed the existence of many articles offering a variety of alternative snack options for parents in response to the increase in kids’ snacking occasions.
Influence of millennial moms on snacking and the role kids play in snack buying
Millennials are not only “shifting their mindset towards snacking for the purpose of healthy, mindful eating”5, but parents and in particular, Millennial moms are “normalizing healthy snacking for the next generation”6. Based on a national study “Millennial moms buy more better-for-you snacks per month than any other generation. For example, 21% of Millennial moms bought three new healthier types of snacks in the past month compared to 14% of Gen X moms.” Millennial moms are also having a positive impact on the choices their kids are making with “the majority (69%) saying their kids understand that some snacks are healthier than others and 55% are saying their kids are more likely to choose a better-for-you snack over another packaged snack.”5
With “eight in 10 schools that are peanut and nut free zones”, parents continue to look for alternative, peanut-free ways to add protein to their kids’ lunches and snacks. Although granola bars are a good option for parents to consider, parents are also looking for “all-in-one bar options that are not only peanut-free but include fibre and protein also.”1
When it comes to teenagers and snacking, “since moms influence on their snacking eating habits is not as great, moms continue to look for convenient solutions” that also include protein options.1
Parents are willing to pay more for better-for-you snacks
According to the national study, “parents are willing to pay an average of $1.53 more for better-for-you snack if they know their child will eat it. Even parents making less than $75,000 per year are willing to pay more for healthier snacks as those that make more than $75,000. In addition, 82% of parents, purchased at least one new better-for-you snack in the last month because it seemed healthier and there was a chance their child would eat it.”5
Better-for-you snacks are highly desirable and valued by both Millennials and their kids who are embracing nutrition as a core value. Not only are Millennial moms willing to purchase several new healthier types of snacks on a monthly basis but they are willing to pay more regardless of income.
As the purpose of snacks expand from indulgence to mini-meal options; the number of snacking occasions grow and the challenges parents face finding alternative peanut-free protein kid snack options, there appears to be an untapped market opportunity for marketers to develop more kid focused protein-based healthier snack options.
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1Source: Grainne Burns (Sept 12, 2014) Canadian Grocer-Five trends in kids’ snacking. Retrieved from http://www.canadiangrocer.com/top-stories/five-trends-in-kids-snacking-44439
2Source: Janet Forgrieve, Freelance Writer, SmartBlogs (Sept. 24, 2014) Foodmanufacturing.com-Brands Cater to Healthier Kids’ Snacking Trends Retrieved from https://www.foodmanufacturing.com/blog/2014/09/brands-cater-healthier-kids-snacking-trends
3Source: According to Hartman Group as reported by Elaine Watson (Feb. 7, 2017) The FoodNavigator-USA Snacking Innovation Summit: Have you registered yet? Retrieved from http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/People/Where-next-for-snacks-FoodNavigator-USA-s-Snacking-Innovation-Summit
4Source: Amanda Baltazar, Contributing Writer, Healthy Snack Trends to Chew On. Retrieved from http://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2017-01/view_features/healthy-snack-trends-to-chew-on/
5Source: Survey results from Amplify Snack Brands and The Centre for Generational Kinetics white paper titled “Better-For-You Snacks: The New Snacking Reality” (April 2017). Retrieved from https://amplifysnackbrands.com/documents/Amplify-2017-Snack-Study.PDF
6Source: Jeff Fromm (Sept 9, 2015) Snacking Habits of Millennial Parents are Shaping The Category for Future Generations. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefffromm/2015/09/09/snacking-habits-of-millennial-parents-are-shaping-the-category-for-future-generations/#a51602641834