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Consumers Driving Snacking Trends

May 23, 2024 – The snacking category is an untapped market with broad reach and massive revenue potential. And for foodservice brands (like you!) to make the most of your menu outside of the typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours, you have to get to know the key players in the snacking game and how to win with them on your team. These are the people you need to know…

Traditional meal times aren’t always a fit for a meal skipper’s lifestyle. Whether they skipped a meal because they were too busy to eat or they weren’t hungry at a “normal” time, they’re just looking for something small yet substantial to keep them satisfied until later.

🟧 47% of consumers don’t get hungry at standard meal times.

🟧 Nearly 70% of consumers skip at least one meal per week.

🟧 29% of Gen Zs snack to hold them over until their next meal.

For meal skippers, focus on portability. Menu items like wraps, chicken nuggets, cold coffees, or breakfast sandwiches (since they tend to be smaller) would be appealing to this type of consumer. And if the price is right on the value menu? Even better!

Late night snackers are social butterflies who can’t call it a night without getting a bite to eat on the way home… a regular occurrence for this type of consumer on Friday and Saturday nights. After all, hunger doesn’t stop just because the party is over.

🟧 1 in 5 Gen Zs + Millennials order from a restaurant during late night hours at least weekly.

🟧 51% of consumers who are ordering food late at night aren’t doing it alone.

🟧 32% think restaurants should offer their regular menu + exclusive late-night choices.

Late night snackers are not as concerned with making healthy choices so menu items like flavored fries, chicken tenders, wings, or tacos would be craveable to this consumer. And since they are going straight home after this stop, the messiness of their order is irrelevant.

Indulgent snackers are driven by cravings and never turn down dessert even if they aren’t super hungry. They believe in treating themselves to the sweeter things in life because they deserve it!

🟧 49% think eating out is a treat and it’s okay to indulge.

🟧 46% snack to satisfy a craving.

🟧 43% of Gen Zs prefer sweet snacks over savory snacks.

To draw in indulgent snackers, operators should offer cookies, milkshakes, and even specialty beverages with cold foam (lemonades, milk teas, iced coffees) to give these consumers the sugary fix they need to get them through the rest of the day.  

Healthy snackers usually have their food choices planned out for the day but every once in a while, they have to order from a restaurant. Even if the food is coming from a drive thru, a healthy snacker will be particular about what they are going to order.

🟧 38% say their last snack was healthy.

🟧 44% want to see more foods and drinks with functional benefits from QSRs.

🟧 33% are willing to pay more for high-protein items.

QSRs don’t have many healthy options on menus and that’s a big miss for anyone trying to capture this market. Focus on grilled or baked alternatives, protein-rich foods, and functional beverages for the healthy snackers out there.

They’ve mastered the act of balancing their entire family’s busy schedules but that doesn’t always leave a ton of time for food. These parents need kid-approved convenient places to stop for a snack to keep hunger-induced temper tantrums at bay.

🟧 90% of Gen Alphas’ parents get their kids food from a restaurant at least weekly.

🟧 84% of parents go to restaurants that both the kids and adults will enjoy.

🟧 60% of Gen Alphas request specific limited-service restaurants by name.

Finger foods like fries, pretzels, pizza bites, and chicken nuggets are not only easy to pass around the car, but just enough to keep the peace until their next real meal.

Need help with snacks? We got your back! Our team of taste makers can help you develop a unique flavor delivery system that will appeal to any one (or more!) of these key snacking consumers. Click here to collaborate with us.

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