For many Americans, especially younger ones, snacks have replaced traditional meals throughout the day. Roughly 40 percent of adults say they eat several small meals throughout the day compared to almost 35 percent in 2005. Snacking between meals reached an all-time high in 2015 with two-thirds of adults over the age of 18 claiming they snack frequently between meals, according to survey data published in the recent Packaged Facts report, “Sweet Baked Goods: U.S. Market Trends.”
This “eating on the go” trend has made the break room a key part of employees’ lives.
But what foods are these snackers choosing? More than a quarter of Americans (30%) claim to usually snack on healthy foods. Likewise, almost half (45%) claim nutritional value is the most important factor in the foods they eat.
Yet even as New York City consumers seek to be healthy, there is the pervasive desire to indulge in treats they know aren’t always good for them. Once a while, even the most health-conscious person likes to take a break from their health regimen and treat themselves to a snack that is higher in fat and/or calories. This is one reason why some indulgent snacks are among the top sellers in the vending machine.
Sales of “comfort snacks” — from cookies to cakes to doughnuts — reached $20 billion in 2014 and will rise by a projected compound annual growth rate of almost 3 percent to reach $23 billion in 2019.
These disparate tendencies – the commitment to a healthy diet and the desire to indulge in less healthy treats – has given birth to a group of snacks seen as “indulgent” but are lower in calories than traditional high-calorie snacks.
When possible, consumers want healthier or “better for you” versions of their favorite treats.
Sweet baked goods manufacturers have responded to this shifting market with “comfort” products formulated to reduce sodium, sugar and fat, eliminate high fructose corn syrup and trans fats. These include products that are more natural, organic, and gluten-free, or include more beneficial ingredients such as whole and multi-grains, fiber, seeds and fruit.
“The market is mature with growth challenged by health and diet concerns, changing snacking choices and an increasing desire for fresh rather than packaged foods,” says David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts. “But there are opportunities for growth as consumers snack smarter even when indulging by choosing sweet goods designed for ‘grab and go’ snacking or products designed to minimize calorie count without overtly sacrificing the flavors familiar to customers.”
Cookies are typically the sweet baked treat of choice, with nearly three quarters of U.S. households eating them. Most households eat regular cookies while only a small percentage eat reduced fat/low-fat or sugar-free most often.
Chocolate chip cookies are America’s favorites with soft chocolate chip cookies preferred by more people than crunchy versions. Bite-sized cookies have grown in popularity as more people are eating “minis” or portion-controlled sizes.
The bottom line is that while New York City consumers are snacking more than ever, their tastes cover a wide range of products. Consumers want to follow healthy diets, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to treat themselves to indulgent snacks.
Today’s refreshment service providers need to meet a more diverse set of consumer choices than ever.
For more information about healthy snack and beverage options in New York City contact your refreshment services provider, Healthy Vending at (917) 572.3671 to discuss your customized break room solution.
Have you noticed how busy the break room is nowadays? The refreshment area plays a more important role in employees’ lives, thanks to the great selections now available that not only taste good, but allow consumers to follow healthy diets in New York City.
One reason many New York City consumers are snacking more is that unlike in years past, they know they can get their nutrition in the snacks they eat.
Another reason is that the taste of healthy products has improved considerably. Some of us can remember a time when “better for you” had an association with being bland and tasteless. Those of us who have been in the refreshment business a long time are well aware of the change. People are buying “better for you” snacks and beverages because they know they don’t have to sacrifice good taste to follow healthy diets.
A lot of the credit goes to product manufacturers that have focused on developing great-tasting lines of snack mixes, bars, teas and waters.
General Mills Cereals has committed to removing artificial flavors and colors in response to consumers’ changing preferences. Today, more than 60 percent of General Mills Cereals such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios are without artificial flavors and colors.
The company plans to have more than 90 percent of its portfolio free of artificial flavors and colors by the end of the year.
“At General Mills Cereals, we have been upgrading the nutrition and ingredients in our cereals for years to meet people’s needs and desires,” said Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division. “We’ve continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals.”
Trix and Reese’s Puffs will be among the first of the remaining brands to change. Trix will use ingredients like fruit and vegetable juices and spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto to achieve the red, yellow, orange and purple colors. Reese’s Puffs will continue to use peanut butter and cocoa and incorporate natural vanilla flavor to achieve the same great taste that adults and children have always enjoyed.
Not only is taste of “better for you” products getting better, but the availability of these items is growing as well. This is where vending in New York City plays an important role. The product manufacturers are aware of the role vending plays in consumers’ lives, and they’re packaging their healthy products for vending in New York City.
PepsiCo recently revealed its Hello Goodness vending initiative, offering good- and better-for-you product choices from the company’s food and beverage portfolio. It features a thoughtfully-chosen selection of PepsiCo products such as such as Naked Juice, Smartfood Delight popcorn, Lay’s Oven Baked potato chips, Quaker Real Medleys bars, Pure Leaf iced tea, Propel Electrolyte Water, Tropicana Pure Premium and Sabra Ready-to-Eat Hummus cups.
“Consumers want more choice when it comes to what they eat and drink on-the-go, and we’re providing the choices they want,” said Kirk Tanner, chief operating officer at PepsiCo North America Beverages. “For years, PepsiCo has been transforming its portfolio to offer more and better food and beverages. We’re continuing this journey with our new Hello Goodness vending initiative.”
Not only are the food and beverage companies offering healthy items; many are changing their products to fit these shifting consumer preferences. And they’re packaging them so they can make them available in the New York City workplace.
The break room is at the forefront of today’s healthy eating movement in New York City.
For more information about healthy snack and beverage options available in New York City, contact your vending partner, Healthy Vending at (917) 572.3671 discuss your customized break room solution.