Industry News | August 15, 2012
NPD Research Reveals Americans' Snack Habits
U.S. consumers are less likely to skip their breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal times today than they were five years ago, but these meals are often described as mini-meals rather than full meals, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company.
A recent NPD food market research report finds that although Americans still carve out main meal times, the number of items consumed at each main meal has declined over time, with consumers snacking in-between meals often.
The average American today has 4.1 food and beverage items at dinner, compared with 5.3 items in 1985. Dinner is the only meal in which a majority of the meal occasions are considered by consumers to be a full or complete meal, according to NPD’s “Snacking in America 2012” report.
The report, which examines long-term attitudes and behaviors about snacking, as well as snack selection drivers, finds that snack occasions fill the gaps between traditional main meals, with morning showing multiple eating occasions.
One out of every five eating occasions in the U.S. is a snack, and more than half of Americans (53 percent) are snacking two or three times a day.
“Our frequent snacking is a result of our hectic lifestyles, need for convenience, increasing desire to eat healthier foods, and simply to enjoy what we eat,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.
“There is, however, a complexity to snacking behaviors based on demographics, needs states, and attitudes,” he continues. “Food manufacturers and retailers will need to align their business strategies with the appropriate consumer behaviors in order to capitalize on consumers’ penchant for snacking.”
Food & Beverage
ANNOUNCING: Incredible Breakfast Trends
The morning daypart is still going strong and continues to offer the most opportunity for incremental sales and customer loyalty. What has changed are the sophisticated – and jaded – palates that consumers bring with them when eating at your operation. Keeping taste buds intrigued requires finesse, creativity and lots of trend awareness. So if you weren’t listening before, the time to do it would be now: we have done something to help you.
The American Egg Board knows breakfast. I think you know we know breakfast. If not, why weren’t you paying attention? We talk about it a lot.
But the more we learned and the more we talked, the more we realized there was much more to say. Here are two facts about complexity – first, it’s interesting, and second, it’s hard to explain in 140 characters or less.
So we’ve undertaken to create mini-studies to offer the reader a good grounding in various trends that are either emerging or at the point of evolving into something different.
NOTE: If people call your place retro or old-fashioned and that was the vibe you were going for, congratulations! But if that wasn’t your intention, well, then you should make sure to read our brief studies. It really couldn’t hurt.
Our first three Incredible Breakfast Trends focus on:
- Breakfast food trucks and what keeps them on top. Truck operators often enter this segment as an economical way to break into the business. Some have even started trends that used to be expected from white table cloth restaurants. Today’s successful food truck operation could soon move into a building on your block. You should have an idea who he is.
- Emerging trend of Asian-influences in the morning. An honest interest in better-for-me cuisine, a growing passion for kimchi throughout the day, the popularity of Sriracha sauce (even Subway uses it) and the fascination with the many different Asian cuisines – China has over 30 alone – makes knowing a little more about this topic a good idea.
- The continuing impact of Latin on breakfast. It used to be that Tex-Mex was all we had. Then it became Mexican, and now it’s Peruvian, Cuban and Oaxacan, to name only a few. Latin cuisine is so much a part of the American table that many children have no idea it came from another culture. This is a moving target and you should have some idea of where it is today.
If we’ve intrigued you, go to bit.ly/LidG5V to read the first three mini-studies. Then come back every quarter for three new examinations of news you can use.
For more, visit www.AEB.org.