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Americas: Snack foods are eaten as meals, report

Once seen as guilty pleasures, snack foods have and will continue to evolve to be eating occasion solutions for a nation of consumers constantly on-the-go, according to a report by The NPD Group.

Americans consumed nearly 386 billion of ready-to-eat snack foods in 2018, with the vast majority of those eaten between main meals.

Snack food growth is happening at most dayparts with more use at meals and as meal replacements.

Snack food needs forecast to grow in the near term embody wellness benefits, like snacks with more protein, portability, like single-serve snack foods that fit into busy lives, unique and enjoyment, like unique flavor mash-ups, according to NPD’s Future of Snacking report, which shows what snack food consumption will look like in the future and the opportunities for growth over the next five years.

Indulgent snack foods are staging a comeback by walking a line between health and enjoyment.

Low calorie, high protein ice cream is an example of a beneficial snack food. Brands that support moderation as a rationale to indulge are also benefiting, like thinner versions of cookies.

Besides flavor, emerging attributes for snack food consumers are snacks that encompass uniqueness and sensory elements such as texture, heat, and aromatics.