Thursday, September 30, 2010

Craving & Grazing

We’re walking, we’re talking, we’re craving, and we’re grazing. Having grown up in an era of technology, our mobile/wired Millennials have developed an “of the moment” mentality. No surprise, their snacking behavior is a result of their spontaneous lifestyles.

Read On:
Earlier in the year, Technomic’s released the 2010 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trends Study that documented consumers snacking habits. Versus two years ago, 21 percent indicated that they snack more often; 55 percent of those surveyed indicated that they snack at least once per day. A larger percentage of snacks are bought at retail locations and eaten at home. However, consumers aged 18 to 24 are more likely to snack outside the house. To me this further validates the Millennials 24/7 on the go, got to have it now, craving frame of mind.

The study also indicated that the top three driving snack consumption factors were convenience (62%), portability (59%) and price (48%). All bode well for foodservice operators targeting Millennials, especially by offering an attractive price point. Cost control is a major driver of their food choices, since this group has been hit hardest by the recession – unemployment 19.5% in the first quarter versus the 9.5% average for the entire workforce.

Other relevant snacking information that I read recently was provided in a study conducted by the research company Mintel. Peak snacking occurred between 3 to 6 PM (37 percent of their respondents), but people tend to spend more between 6 to 8 PM, an average of $4.26 per person versus $3.79 across all other time periods. A majority of the people snacking were looking for beverage (64%) or something portable (61%). Over half (52%) craved something indulgent, while a smaller percentage (32%) desired a healthy option.

Closing thought: Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Will Americans have time to sit down for their traditional Thanksgiving meal or will they make the move towards “grab & go?”


  1. I *must* eat when I'm in the car. Its my favorite place to eat - even if its getting a soda at the drive thru. I have even mastered the art of eating almost anything while driving - though I don't endorse doing so - it's dangerous! :-)

    Having said that, we do make the effort to sit down to dinner on most days, as a family, including Thanksgiving!

  2. This speaks to rethinking how we communicate and market to the Millennials. It's got to be in meaningful (and valuable) ways for them to sit up and take notice. A lack of authenticity online is like someone shouting in your ear: jarring.

  3. Jim,

    This piece reminds me of the simple truth that if you want people to buy your product/service, you have to relate it to the realities of their lives. For example, just last night I saw a commercial for one of the cable giants (I can't remember which - another sign of how good this commercial was) where they showed how this rich 'Russian' guy (who apparently was supposed to be some sort of mob guy) pointing out how he prefers to use this cable company over the others. The message of this commercial is obvious - that if a rich Russian mobster is willing to use their services, when they can afford to use anyone - why don't you? And yet, how does this relate to the average American home that is struggling with their finances and stressing over the uncertainties that are still out there over the economy?

    Hopefully, snack companies won't forget to make sure their ad agencies present campaigns that keep the message relevant and not so off the mark.

  4. Thankfully this year I don't have to do the dual family visit on Thanksgiving which meant 'grab n go' in prior years. I can actually just sit-down in one location this year. Sweet!