The Core - A Blog by DMA Solutions
Marci Allen
Posted by Marci AllenNovember 13, 2019 7:00 AM

Did you know that more Americans are spending money on snack foods than on meals today?1 

That’s right: due to busy schedules and changing mindsets around food consumption, people are turning away from the old standard of three square meals a day, opting instead for all-day snacking. In fact, the “snackable” fruit and vegetable category exceeded $16.3 billion in revenue in 20172, and the “on-the-go” fruit and vegetable snacking sub-category topped $1.1 billion in 2016.2 According to a recent United Fresh Report, shoppers' spend on value-added vegetables continues to grow, evidenced by an 8.8% increase from 2018 to 2019.

What does all this mean for fresh? Well, it’s clear that the "three squares a day" dining landscape has evolved. Below, we will be exploring the ever-growing trend of snacking from a breadth of data sources to help inspire new ways produce marketers can show shoppers how fresh products can fit into non-traditional meal times. Let's dive in!


Important Snacking Stats Fresh Produce Marketers Should Know


  • Consumers aren’t “snacking just to snack.” Rather, there is a mindset behind the choice of snack, whether it’s for comfort, indulgence, performance, well-being, health, sustainability or another reason. (Source)
  • Snacks that incorporate superfoods and active ingredients for added health benefits are tapping into the “food as medicine” trend, which maintains probiotics as a key focus, in keeping with the interest in gut health.” (Source) Additionally, 50% of IRI 2018 Snacking Survey respondents state they will pay more for snacks that are healthier. (+5 points vs 2016) (Source
  • "Gen Z consumers seek experiential snacks with broader flavors, textures and ingredients, as well as snacks with a sustainability draw; these attributes impact snack choices." (Source)
  • What do shoppers want from their snacks? 75% of IRI 2018 Snacking Survey respondents want snacks that are guaranteed fresh while 58% want snacks that contain vitamins and minerals, and 57% want all-natural snacks or snacks made with natural ingredients. (Source)
  • A 2019 IRI report on The State of the Snacking Industry, found that all generations surveyed agree on the importance of these three snacking benefits (Source):
    • 58% seek snacks that offer benefits beyond basic nutrition
    • 55% want snacks that provide a serving of fruit or vegetables
    • 77% want fresh/not processed
  • Additionally, a large percentage of Generation Z has been raised to put a greater emphasis on the quality of food, whether it’s clean, fresh, or nutritionally beneficial, as well as its flavor and function. (Source)


Marketing Moment: Leverage your brand’s alignment with trends and current shopper minds: talk nutritional facts and verified health benefits in your messaging, from social media posts to website copy.



Mintel reports predicted “Elevated Convenience” as a key food trend for 2019 and beyond—and for good reason!

  • 57% of IRI 2018 Snacking Survey respondents want snacks that can be eaten on the go. (an 18% increase from 2016!) (Source)
  • Furthermore, in its “The Future of Snacking” report, The NPD Group found that what Gen Z cares about most is portability. (Source
  • According to Mintel’s top food trends for 2019: From healthy aging to convenient food hacks, we can probably expect that a rising segment of consumers who are frequently on-the-go—yet want to spend more time at home—will increase demand for “upscale, ‘speed scratch’ solutions and restaurant-quality, ready-to-consume products.” (Source)


Marketing Moment: Position your products as an ideal complement to busy, healthy lifestyles by using your messaging to highlight existing portable and value-added options, as well as by educating people on easy ways to incorporate your fresh products into their snacking routines.



  • According to Packaged Facts, young adults aged 18–24 are more likely than millennials to say they often snack between meals (74% versus 66%). When they do slow down to prepare a meal, Gen Z young adults are much more likely to prefer simple, easy-to-prepare meals (58% versus 40%). (Source)
  • In one survey, 93% of shoppers said they were most likely to consume fruit and veggies between meals during the week. (Source)
  • The frequency of early-morning snacking has increased by 8 percentage points in four years, according to the IRI's State of the Snack Industry Report. (Source)
  • According to a 2019 Pinterest report, Amazing Graze (also known as “grazing tables”) is currently a key trend of family snacking at dinnertime. Family-style grazing tables were referred to as a “feast for the eyes, and an open invitation for everyone to dig in.” Additionally, searches on this topic were up by 163% in 2019.” (Source)


Marketing Moment: Where do you reach Generation Z, along with a sizable percentage of shoppers from other generations? On social media, of course! Use “grazing tables” as inspiration for your next social media posts—and don’t be afraid to play up your products as ideal for early-morning grab-n-go snacks.


Are you taking full advantage of this hot trend? It’s official: if you aren’t already positioning your brand as an excellent snack for all occasions, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to connect with shoppers! From blog and webpage content to social media posts and email campaigns, opportunities abound to connect with your audiences about the snacking potential of fresh produce.


Have something to add? Leave us a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter @TheCoreBlog!

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Topics: Fresh Produce Industry, Marketing Trends, Tools, & Insights, Marketing Strategy

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