The End of Carefree Snacking?

Published in CSP Daily News

Cookies, bakery down; yogurt, nuts up

NEW YORK -- While Americans feeding their addiction to munchies shelled out $61.4 billion for snack foods in 2005, a greater portion of their cash outlay went to healthier products, according to Snack Food Trends in the U.S., a new report from Packaged Facts.

Whether from guilt by associationAmericans also spent $61 billion in direct healthcare costs to take care of obesity related issuesor due to a more accountable industry introducing "healthier-for-you" snack foods, America is paying attention to what we're eating, the report said.

Carefree snacking is over, it said, as evidenced by plummeting sales in certain segments. Cookies and bakery snacks have suffered the most, with sales down $334 million from 2001-2005. The crackers and popcorn/rice cakes segments each experienced losses of $45 million.

But Packaged Facts said that the trend towards healthier eating has been a boon for other segments, with yogurt snacks leading in dollar growth with gains of $721 million. Food bars and nut snacks also saw healthy gains during the five year period in which greater emphasis has been placed on heightened "natural" and nutritional tags such as "no trans fat" and "nothing artificial."

"In the last five years, snacking overall has increased by 1.5% as the trend for meals being replaced by snacks continues to grow," said Don Montuori of Packaged Facts. "Consumers, are serious about these 'meals' being healthy. Simultaneously, manufacturers are serious about meeting consumer, watchdog and governmental demands to make snacks more nutritious- particularly those aimed at kids. These factors are driving a fundamental industry shift which should expand it while making snacking healthier."

Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods, food and beverage and demographics.