Innova research shows snack consumers value taste over all

The global pandemic has increased the importance of treats and indulgence for many consumers, a trend which snack manufacturers can capitalise on

Taste is the single most important consideration for consumers of salty snacks, according to a report from Innova Market Insights. The company’s research suggests the pleasure of the eating experience drives purchasing decisions, with global consumers seeking happiness from snacking.

The company says formulators can try to meet this market need by balancing the innovative with the familiar. “A total of 35-40% of consumers expressed a preference for strong, novel and varied flavours,” said Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova Market Insights. “But at the same time, 20-25% said that they preferred mild, light and traditional tastes.”

Snack purchasing habits exhibit significant regional differences. National purchase rates vary considerably, even in neighbouring markets. For example, typical purchasing is twice as likely in Sweden as in Denmark. Snack-buying is generally highest in households with children and among consumers of parenting age. Children are clearly important snack consumers, but this also suggests that sharing and social snacking remain popular.

The afternoon, between-meals period remains the number one occasion for consumption of salty snacks, followed by evening snacking, according to Innova’s research. Europeans are most likely to eat snacks in the evenings, while Latin Americans over-index on morning usage. Similarly, by age, older consumers seem to favour evening occasions, while the young are more open to snacking in the mornings.

The global pandemic has increased the importance of treats and indulgence for many consumers, a trend which snack manufacturers can capitalise on. As a result, continued diversification and ‘premiumisation’ of products and flavours is anticipated. Further growth is also observed in food claims that relate to specific feelings and life qualities. So-called ‘mood foods’ are targeting both general mental well-being and specific benefits by using claims related to attributes like focus and concentration, replenishment and recharging, and better sleep.

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