was never practiced to anywhere near the
levels of today, if at all. To really grasp
this profound change in America’s eating
behavior and practices, we need to begin
thinking very differently about our study
of today’s – and tomorrow’s – consumer.
Make no mistake, we are living in the
Great Age of Snacking. Despite current
reports on the decline in the snacking
category due to the consumer’s desire
for healthier eating behaviors, Hartman
Group research finds that 48 percent of
all adult eating occurs between meals.
Yet, there are many nuances within this
category of eating occasion to suggest
things might not always be as they appear.
For starters, our definition of what constitutes a snack has been significantly
reconfigured. In addition to more obvious
recent developments such as energy
bars, we now see consumers using
traditional “mealtime” food as snacks.
An iconic example would be a small
portion of leftovers from last night’s
excursion to a local Thai restaurant.
The important takeaway is that
snacking is no longer about a specific product category but, rather, a
set of behaviors ... a way of eating ...
a kind of occasion. In other words,
anything and everything can be a
snack ... and increasingly is.
Suddenly, key players in the traditional
packaged snack categories (i.e. salty
snacks) are facing a much wider set of
How We Eat 12
Food for Thought
The more we snack, and the more we
snack outside traditional snack categories,
the more likely we are to want food of a
higher quality level. That Americans are
devout snackers is no real news to food
manufacturers and marketers, but the
projected levels of growth are “simply
staggering,” with snacking expected to
eclipse population growth by the end of
Our data suggests that the growing percentage of snacking occasions is a result
primarily of changing American eating
habits. In this case, the simultaneous,
culturally interlinked growth in alone
eating, and decline in family eating.
As meal-eating decreases and snacking
behavior grows, adapting meal product
lines to these occasions is a critical source
of adaptive growth. The obvious answer
here is innovation that extends your base
business manufacturing capabilities into
snackable formats to compete for this
growing share of food dollars.
too short to eat
4 new natural grain products stacked
with health benefits and flavor.
These delicious selections feature everything from
grown in America goodness to heart-healthy nutrients, high fiber and Omega- 3 fatty acids.
As president and COO, Laurie Demeritt
provides strategic and operational leader-
ship for The Hartman Group’s research and
consulting teams. Demeritt and Hartman
Group analysts are recognized for their
unique ability to blend primary qualitative,
quantitative and trends research to help
clients develop successful marketing
strategies by understanding the subtle
complexities of how consumers live,
shop and use products, and how to apply
that understanding in ways that lead to
purchase. She can be reached at: