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Little and often

We have been discussing the growing trend of ‘snackification’ for some time now, which sees consumers moving away from the traditional three fixed meals a day towards more flexible snacking and grazing occasions.

A new whitepaper from Euromonitor International, How We Eat: The Changing Face of Global Mealtimes, highlights the growth of snacks; according to the market research provider, savoury snacks will outperform meals and staple foods throughout the 2011-2021 period – on average growing at three per cent, in contrast to one per cent growth in ready meals.

Breakfast has been an easy target for the on the go trend, with the likes of breakfast biscuits and bars, breakfast drinks and ready to eat cereals making morning meal options much more convenient.

Gina Westbrook, director strategy briefings at Euromonitor International, explains, “Breakfast is a meal that is often skipped, eaten on the go or consumed while performing other tasks.

“The line between snacking and breakfast is blurred for many consumers, with grabbing a quick bite on the move common in many countries.”

Despite lunch options also being increasingly ‘snackified’, with manufacturers developing convenient on the go lunch items for busy workers and hassle-free foods to graze on while sitting at a desk, Euromonitor’s research shows that lunch is the most fixed meal of the day. This, the company notes, is largely down to school and work lunch hours keeping lunch times uniform.

Dinner, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly casual, with the formal family dinner often being replaced by grazing, as eating patterns are being customised to fit with consumers’ lifestyles. Euromonitor says all day grazing, eating outside the home and on the move and eating alone are key trends in the demise of traditional meal times.

Westbrook continues, “Global eating patterns clearly show that snacks are becoming almost as important and common as meals.

“Meal times have become fragmented, with the exception of lunch. Changing lifestyles have led to a breakdown in the structure of meal times, with more people snacking and grazing throughout the day, rather than having the more traditional three meals per day.”

It has been interesting to observe the rise of snack foods, and manufacturers have certainly responded with products to suit such occasions – and with Euromonitor’s predictions suggesting snacks will continue to outperform meals and staple foods into 2020, it’s certainly one to continue to watch.

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