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If you’re looking to boost snack sales, then among a broad range of snack selection criteria, great taste represents a key baseline requirement. The Hartman Group’s research indicates that as younger populations with more exposure to new global flavors and a desire to seek them out, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to see snacking as an avenue for discovery of new taste experiences.

Our Snacking: Emerging, Evolving and Disrupted report finds that 56% of Gen Z and 56% of Millennials agree that snacking allows them to try new global flavors, compared with 42% of Gen X and only 20% of Boomers.

It’s not surprising that over half (51%) of all snacking reflects some need for Pleasure.

Snacking is a dynamic consumer behavior, with an array of approaches, dayparts, needs, attitudes, and words associated with the practice today. The Hartman Group’s Modern Snacking Framework helps explain how consumers approach and think about snacking today.

Depicted here, the four pillars, or snacking drivers, capture how snacking motivations and needs shift according to the occasion, context, and individual.Four pillars or snacking drivers

  • Nourishment. Snacking that meets needs for daily sustenance, long-term wellness, and health management.
  • Optimization. Snacking that helps one fulfill physical and mental performance demands.
  • Pleasure. Snacking that fulfills emotional desires for enjoyment, reward, and discovery.
  • Distraction. Snacking that arises from the need to distract, whether due to stress, boredom, or other reasons.

Snacking for Pleasure—and Discovery

Snacking for Pleasure describes consumer needs that range from epicurean delight to more quotidian experiences. This snacking driver is about snacking that intentionally addresses consumer needs for enjoyment, sensory engagement, taste exploration, and permissible indulgence.

As a driver that represents a more traditional mainstay of snacking as a form of reward or treat, Pleasure snacking is an intentional, playful engagement of the senses that seeks to satisfy consumer desires for fatty, salty, sweet, and umami taste experiences.

While snacking for Pleasure has traditionally been the purview of iconic, nostalgic brands, expanding consumer tastes and a desire for discovery of new flavors, formats, and textures have opened Pleasure snacking to new areas of experience.

A top motivation in this pillar is discovery and play: With a growing number of food types, provenances, preparation methods, and food purveyors, discovery has never been greater or more accessible. Cultural values that embrace diversity and new experiences have further heightened the desire for food exploration. Snacking occasions involving smaller quantities, lower price points, and fewer nutritional, social, or cultural expectations provide a way to discover and play with food through lower-risk occasions.

Many Pleasure-oriented snacking occasions tend to showcase sweeter flavors, and though some seek out bold or unusual flavors, familiar tastes and formats remain important. Key attributes of the Pleasure snacking driver include:

  • Good taste
  • Distinctive flavor/texture/aroma
  • Iconicity & nostalgia
  • Surprise & delight
  • Product design & aesthetics
  • Global flavors
  • Interactive characteristics
  • Convenience

Consumer Snacking Needs

Our Modern Snacking Framework provides a tool for food and beverage retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, and restaurants in thinking about the diverse motivations, needs, and contexts surrounding consumers’ snacking habits. It serves as a strategic foundation for identifying areas of opportunity for product development, brand positioning, and marketing by aligning snacking to cultural themes, consumer attitudes and behaviors, and product attributes.

Learn more about the report and order your copy here: THG SNACKING REPORT