Future eating trends show snacking growth on the cards

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd September 2009

The NPD Group, which has been continuously tracking eating habits in the U.S. since 1980, has forecast what consumers will be eating in the future, and it looks like there will be a whole lot of snacking going on. In its new report, A Look into The Future of Eating, the market research company found that in-home snacking ─ morning, noon, and night, but especially morning ─ will outpace population growth over the next decade.

By 2018, the total number of in-home snack occasions are projected to increase 19 per cent over 2008 annual ‘eatings’. Morning snacking is forecasted to increase by 23 per cent, and in-home afternoon snacking is expected to increase by 20 per cent over eating occasions in 2008. Evening snacking is forecasted to increase by 15 per cent in the next decade.

“The strong projected growth in snacking is both a reflection of the growth in new types of snack foods as well as an evolution of how consumers eat,” Ann Hanson, author of the report and Director of Product Development at NPD, said. “Many consumers are eating ‘on the go’ and there are more and more foods available to meet this need.”

Convenience, which could mean reducing or eliminating the amount of food preparation, eating more restaurant meals or versatile and ready-to-eat foods, will be a key motivator in what, how, and where consumers eat over the next decade, according to the report. This follows the release of a report that showed consumers willing to pay more for convenience despite turbulent financial times.

The forms of foods that are expected to under-pace population growth are frozen breakfast foods, canned ingredients, and completely homemade dinner foods.