Industry News | October 16, 2013

NPD Group Releases Study on International Snacking Habits

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How and when consumers eat and drink between meals varies across the BRIMC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, and China, according to a new international study of eating patterns by the NPD Group, a global information company. In India and Mexico, there are two primary peak times for between-meal snack occasions and three in the other BRIMC countries. India has a unique before-breakfast occasion, and Russia and China have the latest peak times for between-meal snacking of these countries, according to the NPD study, International Food and Beverage Habits Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, and China.

The U.S. has three peak times for between-meal snacking, whereas in Brazil and Mexico there are two between-meal occasions—mid-morning and late afternoon/early evening. Both Brazil and Mexico have a late evening meal around 8 p.m., eliminating the need or want for a late evening snack. Russia, India, and China each have three peak times for between-meal occasions, according to the NPD global study, which offers a complete view of consumers’ food and beverage habits, both in the home and away from home.

Sourcing of between-meal foods also varies by country, reports NPD.  About one third of foods consumed between meals in Brazil, Russia, India, and Mexico are considered completely or partially homemade. Those in China are more likely to obtain foods from restaurants for between-meal foods compared to the other BRIMC countries, while consumers in the U.S. rely heavily on foods purchased ready-to-eat from retail for between meal snacks.

Consumers around the world seek good tasting items when choosing what to eat between meals. Seeking something quick and easy is more important to consumers in the U.S. compared to those in the BRIMC countries. Conversely, seeking something healthy ranks higher in importance for between-meal food choices in the BRIMC countries compared to the U.S.

Fruit is the most frequently consumed between-meal food in all BRIMC countries except for India where cookies and other baked sweets are the most popular snack food. After fruit, the BRIMC countries varied in their preference for sweet versus salty or savory snacks.

“The frequency, timing of, and nature of meal and between meal occasions throughout the day are the building blocks for developing a strategy for positioning food and beverage products for the BRIMC countries,” says Ann Hanson, executive director, product management and author of the International Food and Beverage Habits Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, & China study. “Understanding the differences as well as the similarities in eating behaviors among the BRIMC countries will help food companies assess the potential for expansion and growth in these countries.”