Research Shows Americans Now Seek Snacks ‘Day and Night’

baked breads and cookies on brown wooden board

Consumers are picking up the pace when it comes to snacking. According to retail insights company 84.51°, 27% of shoppers said they’re snacking multiple times per day– up 15% from 2023.

With this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo set to begin in Indianapolis on Tuesday, retail insights company 84.51° released findings from its May Consumer Digest, shedding light on the latest consumer behaviors. The findings were based on a sample of consumers who shopped at Kroger stores within the past three months. Data on the frequency of snacking especially stood out.

“Shoppers are snacking more frequently than they did last year … snacking day and night,” 84.51°’s report noted.

Evenings and late afternoons (84%) are the most popular time of day to snack, followed by afternoon (80%) and early morning (60%).

There was also a new favorite snack item atop 84.51°’s May report findings. Cheese (70%) was the most popular item to snack, up 3% from the prior report.

“Americans love cheese,” Chad Galer – VP of product innovation at Dairy Management Inc. – told The Food Institute earlier this year. “There’s more variety than ever available in the U.S., with a strong specialty and artisan cheese industry. (That) gives consumers the chance to explore different types, especially with the popularity of cheeseboards and grazing tables.”

Other popular snack items include fruits (68%), potato chips (67%), and crackers (63%). Chocolate and cookies (tied at 58%) were next in the rankings, with both of those snack items up 4% from last year.

Taste and flavor (75%) are most important to consumers when choosing snack items, followed by craving (55%) and convenience (46%).

Of course, price is important to snackers amid the current inflationary period. To determine if they’re getting a good value, consumers look for the following attributes in snack products:

  • Price (32%)
  • Quality Product (15%)
  • Flavor (13%)
  • Health Benefits (10%)

A final, noteworthy finding from the consumer report: shoppers ages 35-44 are more likely than any other age group to purchase snacks online. In general, though, 85% of all consumers surveyed said they buy snacks in-store.

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