By Richard Custer
Snacking has made a major comeback, and savvy brands are taking advantage of the trend.
While snacking used to be viewed as
indulgent eating of all things sweet and
salty, it’s transformed into a healthy habit
that fits the busy lifestyles of modern
consumers. Ready-to-eat protein products
stand out from the rest of the snack pack.
Health-conscious consumers love them
because protein provides energy, satiates
hunger and has the potential to support
Yet, the move to snacking is about
more than the type of food being sold. It’s
about the experience that brands provide,
which includes the way ready-to-eat
protein snacks are packaged.
The short answer is nearly everyone.
In 2015, Mintel reported that 94 percent
of Americans snack at least once per
day, and half of adults snack two or three
times per day.
It’s the millennial generation, however,
that appears to be adopting the snacking
lifestyle with gusto. Millennials are four
times more likely to snack than older
generations, and Mintel found nearly a
quarter of them are “super snackers” who
do it four times a day or more. Millennials
are now the most coveted consumer
group, so we’re all paying close attention
to their preferences.
The Meat Snack Market
The obvious choice for protein snacking
is meat products such as jerky, sticks
and bites. In 2017, Nielsen reported that
the meat snack category was growing
at a rate of seven percent annually, far
outpacing the growth of snacks like potato
chips and pretzels.
Millennials, however, are slightly less
likely to spend money on meat snacks
than older generations. Nielsen’s research
suggests it is baby boomers who are
spending the most on these products.
That may be why you’re seeing many
brands experimenting and reinventing
the meat snack in an attempt to attract
IRI’s 2017 New and Emerging Snacking
Trends report calls jerky “the new protein
bar.” Indeed, there are brands selling
jerky in some innovative ways. Whether
it is protein sources such as pork and
poultry instead of beef, ingredients and
farming practices such as grass-fed beef,
or a wide range of creative flavors, meat
snacks are obviously being marketed
Yet another way to grab the attention
of 20- and 30-somethings is through
packaging and labeling. IRI reports that
52 percent of consumers are influenced
by product packaging and labeling, but it
jumps to 60 percent of 18-24 year olds
and 62 percent of 25-34 year olds.
Packaging preferences often reflect the
needs and lifestyles of the consumer. Let’s
take a look at what’s driving packaging
trends for protein snacks.
Busy lifestyles and the always-connected culture have many consumers
looking for quick fixes instead of full
meals during the workday. People will
have snacks at their desks or in the car
rather than spending their lunch break
eating a full meal.
Research backs up the notion that
lunchtime is becoming snack time.
IRI’s snack study found 67 percent of
respondents say they snack around the
middle of the day, and 58 percent do so
in the afternoon. Ready-to-eat protein
snacks are an excellent solution for those
who know a bag of chips will only keep
them satisfied for so long. Products such
as sausage and cheese bites can satisfy
taste buds and appetites.
Packaging that meets on-the-go consumer preferences provides
convenience through ease of use.
Options such as the standup pouch fit
the snacking trend well as they provide
Protein-Packed Snacks: Insights On
Consumer Packaging Preferences