Happy smiling senior grandparents playing with their granddaughter

As family dynamics evolve in the U.S., so do the challenges of satisfying everyone's snack cravings: from kids to adults to grandparents. The modern kitchen pantry is tasked with catering to a range of dietary preferences and health needs, all while keeping economic and practical considerations in mind. So, what does snacking look like in multigenerational households?

A dance between health and convenience

For many families, the struggle between choosing healthy snacks and opting for convenience defines daily life. As one consumer put it in our recent Future of Snacking 2024 report, “I’ve just tried to look for healthier living and look for healthier snack options,” highlighting the shift towards intentional snacking choices as she has entered middle age. However, her younger family members prefer to reach for quick and fun snacks, which often conflicts with older adults' more health-focused preferences.

In a society where 76% of consumers are replacing meals with snacks, 49% of multi-person households coordinate their snack choices. By involving all family members in decision making, primary shoppers can address individual preferences and educate younger members about healthier options. They opt for versatile and customizable snacks, such as yogurt with various toppings or trail mixes and energy bars, catering to diverse palates and dietary needs. This cooperative strategy makes it necessary for families to find a common ground that satisfies all ages to simplify grocery shopping and ease household tensions.

Additionally, products that facilitate DIY combinations, like snack packs, empower consumers to create tailored snacks that meet their specific taste and health requirements. This also adds an element of enjoyment to snacking and accommodates various dietary needs without requiring additional preparation.

Economic and marketing influences

Economic factors significantly sway snack choices in multigenerational households. Healthy options often come with a higher price tag, leading families to compromise between quality and affordability.

“They don’t really sell things in family sizes in the healthy aisles. They get smaller but more expensive.” – Ana, 42

How brands can build trust and loyalty

The evolution of snacking in multigenerational households signals a critical opportunity for brands to innovate and cater to this diverse audience by providing them with products that blend convenience, customization and value.

Plus, consumers increasingly seek snacks that offer clear nutritional benefits without sacrificing taste. There is demand for value-driven strategies that don't compromise on health quality or quantity, especially in economically sensitive times.

Brands that can deliver on these aspects — enhancing the flavor experience, ensuring healthfulness and maintaining affordability — will not only meet the immediate needs of today’s snackers but will also build lasting trust and loyalty across generations.

Unlock even more insights and strategies in our new report, Future of Snacking 2024: Balancing Intent with Indulgence.

Source: Future of Snacking 2024: Balancing Intent with Indulgence, Hartman Group