“Snackification” of Mealtimes is Widespread Among Millennials, Study Finds

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08 Mar 2017 --- Most American Millennial snackers eat a snack in place of a standard meal at least once a week, a new survey commissioned by Welch’s Global Ingredients Group has revealed. 

Researchers in the US questioned snackers between the ages of 18 and 35 about their snacking habits and preferences. When asked how often they eat a snack instead of having breakfast, lunch or dinner, 92% of them said they do so a minimum of once a week. Furthermore, half of the respondents said they replace a meal with a snack at least four times a week, while more than a quarter (26%) said they do so at least seven times a week.

The online survey of 300 male and female American Millennials who snack regularly was commissioned by Welch’s Global Ingredients Group, the supplier of FruitWorx real fruit pieces and powders, and was conducted in January 2017 by independent market research company Surveygoo. The findings shed light on the true scale of the ‘snackification’ of mealtimes among Millennial snackers, an often-reported but rarely measured phenomenon. 

This trend could be a reflection of American Millennial snackers’ busy lives. They are snacking both at home and on the go, with 48% of Millennial snackers consuming snacks at work and 34% in the car. When asked why they snack, 39% of Millennial snackers said they do so when they are too busy to eat a proper sit-down meal, while 17% admitted to doing so when they ‘can’t be bothered to cook a meal’. 

When respondents were asked which factors are important in guiding their choice of snack, the three most important were taste (80%), nutrition and health (52%) and convenience (49%). They also said they are looking for whole food ingredients, such as wholegrains (43%), real fruit (42%) and nuts (39%). Besides valuing real fruit, American Millennials who snack also prefer to know the origin of the fruit in their snacks. In total, 68% of survey respondents said it was important for them to know where the ingredients in their snacks, including the fruit, had come from. 

Wayne Lutomski, Vice President International & Welch’s Global Ingredients Group, said: “The survey quantifies and expands on what we already suspected: the replacement of mealtime with snacktime among Millennial snackers is widespread. These consumers need their snacks to be convenient for their busy lives and contribute to their daily nutrition needs. Our survey findings tell us that there is an opportunity for snack products that can check all of the boxes – taste, convenience and natural nutrition.” 

Lutomski spoke with FoodIngredientsFirst, he commented by saying: “One of the key consumer groups is Millennials. This influential generation is changing and shaping our society in many ways, and a good understanding of their preferences and needs is highly valuable.”

True American Superfruit
The findings from the survey highlight the importance of using specific ingredients when creating snack products. Key learnings point towards demand for those that deliver excellent taste, convenience and authentic nutrition, with a preference for whole food ingredients that offer a strong story around provenance.

“We see a good opportunity to enhance the superfruit proposition further in 2017,” explains Lutomski. “Our research among European Millennial fruit juice drinkers tells us that 84% would be more likely to buy a superfruit juice if they knew the superfruit from which it was made tasted good. Superfruit juices are often expensive and rarely taste great. This means there’s a big opportunity for juices, like Concord grape juice, that deliver exceptional taste and superfruit nutrition, all at a reasonable price.”

FruitWorx inclusions by Welch’s Global Ingredients Group are real fruit pieces for snacking and baking products that satisfy all of these criteria. They are made from the Concord grape, a distinctive, dark purple grape variety with a sweet, bold flavor grown in North America by Welch’s nearly 1,000 family farmers. In combination with an exceptional flavor profile, it delivers natural plant nutrients called polyphenols. It is a true American superfruit.

Concord FruitWorx pieces provide the same bold flavor and polyphenols as the fresh fruit from which they were made. In fact, Concord FruitWorx delivers more than twice the polyphenols as the leading brand of sweetened dried cranberries, and three times as many polyphenols as the leading brand of raisins.

Now available to food manufacturers throughout the USA, FruitWorx real fruit pieces are made using a unique technology called ultra-rapid concentration (URC), which was developed by Taura Natural Ingredients.

Lutomski explains further: “With URC, Welch’s Global Ingredients Group is able to deliver the goodness of the Concord grape in a format that’s perfect for a multitude of snack applications, and which taps into the trends highlighted by our survey. As we have found, American Millennial snackers are looking for their snacks to deliver great taste and authentic nutrition benefits. With FruitWorx pieces, snack manufacturers have an opportunity to meet the exact needs of this consumer and bring winning products to the marketplace.”

“In our survey of European Millennial fruit juice drinkers, 73% of respondents said it was important to them that a fruit juice delivers a health benefit, and the three most interesting benefits to European Millennial fruit juice drinkers were energy, mind health and heart health,” he notes. 

“This is good news for Concord grape juice, which has been shown to help support a healthy heart. Also, while more research is needed, emerging science suggests that Concord grape juice may provide cognitive health benefits, too. Coupled with its superb taste, this makes Concord grape juice a compelling proposition for beverage brands seeking to target Millennial, and other, consumers,” Lutomski concludes.

by Elizabeth Kenward

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