The perception that snack foods to eat between meals has changed as snacking has become an additional meal and in some cases a replacement, according to a new report.
Most snacking still occurs in the evening at home but this is declining. Morning snacking however has shown the strongest growth and snack foods replace more breakfasts than other meals, said the Snacking in America 2008
report from the NPD Group, a market research company.
The NPD study also found that most snack-oriented convenience foods, such as potato chips, are eaten between meals, but such items are increasingly finding their way into meal times as accompaniments or replacements.
The idea of snack foods being consumed at meal times could offer opportunities to food manufacturers, as a recent survey commissioned by Solae found that consumers increasingly seek filling breakfasts that release energy slowly, expanding the potential for products such as soy.
Harry Balzer, vice president at The NPD Group and author of Eating Patterns in America, said: “A generation ago most Americans believed they should ‘avoid snacking entirely’, but today snacking is more acceptable and is clearly the fourth meal of the day.
“Twenty-one percent of all meals are snacks.”