The State of Snacking

Despite all the uncertainty, boredom, divisiveness, community-building, and Zoom meetings of 2020, one thing brought people comfort, connection, and joy: food. We baked sourdough and banana bread, we hoarded and cooked pasta, we crafted fancy coffee, and we snacked. In fact, we snacked so much that the already accelerating $1.2 trillion snacking industry boomed, and it’s not showing signs of slowing down yet.

To understand consumer behavior during the past year, Mondelez International partnered with The Harris Poll to report on the 2020 global snacking trends. This second annual 2020 Global Consumer Snacking Trends Study revealed that about nine out of ten people (88%) were snacking more or as much as they did before the pandemic, and a majority expect this trend to continue even after the pandemic ends (58%). But they weren’t snacking for sustenance alone; consumers viewed snacking as a bite-sized moment of satisfaction, peace, and distraction in trying, uncertain times. Almost two-thirds (63%) reported snack time as a bright spot in their day.

Mindful Snacking
As consumers’ appetites for snacks grow, so does their appetite for foods that promote mindfulness. Over half of people are spending more focused time on their snacks, with 57% of respondents saying they are less likely to multitask while they eat. Additionally, as more people are snacking at home throughout the day, two-thirds of snackers (66%) believe they have more control over what they eat, with the majority making health a top priority (74%). In addition to convenience, snackers are seeking out portion-controlled snacks. Among the top reasons, snackers responded that seeking single-serve and controlled-portion snacks “helps me feel more in control of snacking” (38%), “helps me eat enjoyable or indulgent food without guilt” (37%), and “helps me stay aware / avoid mindless eating” (36%).

Snacking for Wellbeing
During the pandemic, people also made their physical and mental health a priority, searching for foods that nourished their bodies and provided an immunity boost. Overall, 64% of adults are more aware of the snacks their body needs, with over half (52%) making their physical health more of a focus during the pandemic. A majority of adults (64%) said that “snacks have been nourishing to my body, mind, and soul during these strange times.” Over half (54%) also said that they actively were seeking snacks that were immunity-boosting.

Virtual Snack Shopping
With the uncertainty of safety during the pandemic, half of global adults say they have started to buy snacks online more often than they do in-store or offline (47%), with 7 out of 10 planning to continue shopping for snacks online once the pandemic is over (69%). Shopping online has also provided snackers with more options than they had shopping in-store; 47% of people reported discovering new snacks or adopting new snacking habits by shopping online and 59% have tried new types of snacks during the pandemic. Ultimately though, with the uncertainty of the pandemic, more shoppers are relying on brands they trust. Three out of four people (74%) said “during these uncertain times, I prefer to stick with brands I know.”

Interestingly, while eCommerce sales grew on sites such as Amazon and Walmart, research found that more than half of people would rather buy snacks directly from the manufacturer than from a third-party provider (53%).
State of Snacking Online Trends

When it’s time to refresh your pantry, or you plan return to the office, more people than ever are in tune with their wellness needs, as well as the mental and emotional relief that snacking offers. We look forward to seeing how these trends change over time, and in the meantime, hope you enjoy snacking smart with Fruit For Thought.

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