From small-plate dinners to mid-day sweet treats, millennials crave a snacking experience. Millennial tendencies for snacking, in or out of the home, are influencing the snack industry in a big way. Snacks seem to be replacing meals for a number of reasons — on-the-go lifestyle, healthy eating, portion size, and convenience. It is estimated that 70 percent of millennials consider any food as snackable, and therefore, foods outside of the traditional snack category need to be considered. Overall, taste is the major factor for 89 percent of millennials when choosing their next snack selection.
New Snacking Behaviors Define Millennial Snacking
Morning snack choices are heavily weighted as the healthiest snack options of the day. Sixty-four percent of millennials, more than any other generation, believe that fewer ingredients mean a snack is healthier or better-for-you. Clean, easy-to-read label ingredients are a major benefit when millennials make the decision to purchase. Millennials seek out nutrient-dense snacks or snacks that provide energy, contain less sugar, and/or contain high amounts of quality proteins. Millennials also consider portion size in terms of healthy eating; they want a snack size that can satisfy their hunger.
Mid-day munching millennials seek brain foods that feed focus, fight stress, and tend towards a sweet flavor profile. Sweet pairs well with the afternoon caffeine jolt. Adaptogens, or natural substances that are considered to help the body adapt to stress, are being consumed for their perceived health benefits for thing like fighting physical, chemical or biological stressors. These can be consumed in coffee or tea as a vehicle (1). These concoctions can be made from scratch with adaptogen supplement powders, but now there are brands providing packaged options in the form of mushroom coffees, mushroom teas, or spreadable “butters.”
Snacks are often viewed as a meal replacement in millennial food culture. Snack cravings sometimes occur in response to stress or boredom. Light dinner staves off hunger during evening hours. Snacks also act as part of a reward system. Think post-workout or after finishing up a big project at work for goal oriented individuals.
A dynamic ingredient partner can help create products that fulfill the spectrum of millennial snacking occasions. Healthy and clean label snacks that do not compromise on taste are key. By creating convenient long shelf life snacks with a minimal ingredient list and rich flavor, consumers will truly be able to experience the food itself. Food companies can set their products apart from other brands by offering snacks that provide a true sensory experience. Food companies that can offer a notable experience within a snack size portion that is easy to prepare will find that they have a successful product.