Many millennials shun practice of eating three regular meals a day

More than 40% snacking regularly, says Canadean

The company’s latest report finds that consumers snack for a variety of reasons, such as the functional need for an energy or nutritional boost, the psychological need to destress or indulge, and needs dictated by occasion, such as watching a movie, attending a sporting event or socialising with friends.

As more consumers turn to snacks to fulfil a wide range of needs and occasions every day, the potential opportunities for snacking brands are enormous right across the health-indulgence and sweet-savory spectra.

Katrina Diamonon, Principal Consumer Insight at Canadean, explains: 'While it is important for brands to acknowledge and address the snacking needs of all consumers, it is particularly crucial to understand the motivations of younger consumers. Not only are they more frequent snackers, but their purchase behaviours and preferences will strongly influence other current consumers and also subsequent generations as they pass on these traits to their children.'

Canadean finds that a range of rational and emotional needs beside hunger can be addressed through snacking, and these reasons differ according to age. As millennials tend to prioritise meat in their diets more highly than their older counterparts owing to its perceived health benefits, manufacturers should capitalise on the meat snack segment and explore new opportunities.

Diamonon continues: 'Manufacturers are increasingly experimenting with a range of proteins, formats and gourmet flavours to elevate consumption from convenience-store snacks to an exciting taste experience and even credible meal replacement. Improved sourcing transparency and ethical production of such offerings is also enhancing premium credentials.'