A recent study by The NPD Group has revealed that consumer snack preferences are determined by both time of day and location. The study found that consumers’ tastes for savory and sweet snacks are determined by the time of day, while better-for-you snack choices are influenced more by place.
When looking at the snack-oriented food groups, the day starts healthy with better-for-you snacks, which are typically consumed throughout the day depending on location, savory picks up mid-day and in the evening there’s a desire for sweet, according to NPD’s Snacking in America report.
A third of snack/appetizer items consumed for or instead of lunch or dinner are from the savory snack category, finds the NPD report, which covers current and long-term snacking trends and attitudes and behaviors of specific consumer demographic groups. Over a third of snacks consumed after dinner are sweet, and over 40% of snacks carried from home and eaten at school, work, in the car, or at other locations are better-for-you.
Not only does time of day and place dictate snack food preferences, but so do the seasons. Sweet snack consumption spikes in November — eating Halloween treats. Better-for-you snacking decreases in November and December, and savory snacking hits its peak in December and January, reported NPD.
“Not all snack foods are treated equally by consumers depending on the time of day,” said Darren Seifer, NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst. “Marketers of snack food products need to communicate with consumers based on day part, while better-for-you snack marketers need to be more focused on location, as in-home versus away from home.”