‘Secret’ snacking rises amid the pandemic, says Glanbia’s key research

A key sector study by Glanbia Nutritionals has shown that a third (33 per cent) of snacking consumers admit to eating more when others aren’t around, as well as revealing key generational differences, writes Neill Barston.

The survey of 2,000 people found that 49 per cent of those who indulge in their favourite treats including confectionery, are more likely to choose a healthy product at home than outside of home (10 per cent) and in the workplace (10 per cent).

Nearly half (49 per cent) of hybrid workers (working both at home and in the office) said they will be conscious of what they eat to stay healthy while hybrid working.

Furthermore, of those working in a hybrid pattern, a quarter (25 per cent) said they would eat more snacks as meal replacements, while 31% agreed they’d choose more on-the-go snacks as a result of their working routine.

However, those who eat ‘healthy’ snacks have different views on what is important depending on their age group: ‘low in calories’ topped the charts for Gen Z (25 percent of 16 – 24 year olds) while the over 55s look for ‘low/no sugar’ (36 per cent). Protein is a priority for millennials (25- 34 year olds), with 18 per cent looking for protein-rich healthy snacks.

In addition, according to Glanbia, women who snack are more likely to do so for reasons other than nutrition: over half of US consumers (54 per cent) admit to snacking when they are bored – rising to 62 per cent for women. 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women use snacks as a reward or to treat themselves.

Stress is another key factor for females who snack, with 46 per cent of women claiming to use snacks to cope with frustration, compared to just 26 percent of men.

This has been the primary driver for a rise in demand from brands for solutions such as neuro-enhancing adaptogens, with over half of 25-44 years stating that they find ingredients with calming effects appealing.

Director of Global Insights at Glanbia Nutritionals, a leading supplier of nutritional solutions to food producers, Ludi Marché said: “Consumer choices have been hugely impacted by the overhaul in our daily lives caused by the pandemic, and brands should take note that the ‘new normal’ is impacting snacking habits once again. This presents an opportunity for food manufacturers to diversify their portfolio and customer base through added nutritional ingredients.

“According to our insights, functional snacks for energy, focus, and relaxation are increasingly trending with consumers, particularly in the form of bars and ready-to-drink beverages. Adding a custom nutrient premix is an effective way to incorporate healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals into a snack food.”

Glanbia Nutritionals provides nutritional solutions to food brands including proteins, custom premix solutions, plant-based nutrition and bioactive ingredients.

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