Consumers Adhere to Three Meals Daily But Snack Often


While U.S. consumers are sticking to the traditional three-meals-per-day routine, the meals themselves have changed, according to the recent report "Snacking in America 2012" by the market research firm The NPD Group. Although consumers are less likely to skip mealtimes than they were five years ago, the meals can be considered mini-meals, during which fewer items are consumed. Consumers are also snacking more between meals. 

By offering the right mini-meals and snacks, truckstop and travel plaza operators and industry suppliers can tap into this trend and boost sales. Operators have already reported seeing an increase in their quick-serv and grab-and-go offerings. To help operators tap into the snack trend, industry suppliers may want to share the findings of The NPD Group’s report. 

Fifty-three percent of Americans snack two to three times per day and one out of every five eating occasions overall is a snack. The report found that morning in particular includes multiple eating occasions. 

"Our frequent snacking is a result of our hectic lifestyles, need for convenience, increasing desire to eat healthier foods, and simply to enjoy what we eat," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "There is, however, a complexity to snacking behaviors based on demographics, needs states and attitudes. Food manufacturers and retailers will need to align their business strategies with the appropriate consumer behaviors in order to capitalize on consumers' penchant for snacking."

Additionally, the report found that the average American consumes 4.1 food and beverage items at dinner today, down from 5.3 items in 1985. Dinner is also the only meal during which a majority of the meal occasions are considered by consumers to be a full or complete meal, according to the report.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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