As consumers become more health conscious, various sectors of the food industry have had to make adjustments. One of the more recent sectors to make such an adjustment is the snack food industry. According to data from Nielsen, on-the-go produce and healthy snack foods are on the rise. And consumers may be looking for even more ways to get quick access to healthy items. So what do consumers think about this growing niche? We asked 1,000 respondents about their snack buying habits and their thoughts on healthy snack options.
In Ask Your Target Market’s latest online survey, 38% of respondents said that they’ve purchased snack foods within the past day. 50% have bought snacks within the past week. 9% have within the past month. 11% said it’s been more than a month since they last purchased snack foods. And 1% are not snack food consumers at all.
In addition, 93% of respondents said that they normally purchase snacks at grocery stores. 40% buy them at convenience stores. 33% buy snacks from general merchandise or big box stores. 14% buy snacks from health food stores regularly. Another 14% buy snacks online. And 7% get them from other sources like vending machines.
In general, 58% of respondent said they consider their diets to be mostly healthy. 63% said that they try to purchase healthy snack foods whenever possible. And 58% said they are at least somewhat satisfied with the amount of healthy snack foods available. More specifically, 86% said that they regularly purchase salty snacks. 64% regularly purchase desserts. 55% buy snacks that contain produce like fruits and veggies. Another 55% buy snacks that contain dairy. And 40% buy snacks that include meat. Lays, Little Debbie, Doritos and Nabisco were the most popular snack brands mentioned by respondents.
Looking forward, 75% of respondents said that they are at least somewhat likely to purchase healthy snack foods or on-the-go items within the next month. According to Personality Radar, those who are most likely to buy healthy snacks are affluent consumers who don’t mind paying a bit more for quality or status statement purchases. Additionally, the most popular healthy snack brands among those respondents include Nature Valley, Planters, Kashi, Clif, Annie’s, Dole and Chobani.
Healthy snacks do seem to be gaining popularity with consumers, though not necessarily at the expense of other items like chips and sweets. Those who are most likely to purchase healthy snack foods are seemingly okay with paying a bit more for items that they perceive to be of higher quality or status. So it could be a good strategy for brands offering these types of foods to call attention to those things, potentially sharing that certain foods are made with natural or organic ingredients. And investing in quality branding can also help certain snack brands stand out as sort of status symbols as well.