February 26, 2024

The once-clear line between snack time and mealtime will blur in 2024 

According to Merriam-Webster, a meal is defined as an act or the time of eating a portion of food to satisfy appetite. A snack is defined as a light meal or food eaten between regular meals. In 2024, the once-clear line between snacks and meals will blur as Americans struggle with a lack of time to prepare, eat and enjoy meals, according to the fifth annual “U.S. Snack Index” released by PepsiCo Inc. divisions Frito-Lay North America and The Quaker Oats Co. The national survey of 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older also found that: 

  • The average American has only 52 minutes per day to prepare, eat and enjoy their meals. One-third of consumers say they have even less time — under 30 minutes. 

  • More Americans are integrating their favorite snack foods into meals, up 35% over previous years. Men are just as likely as women to use snacks in meals — 92% vs. 93%, respectively. 

  • More than half of consumers report proudly using snacks as a key ingredient in no-prep dinners at least once a week, while more than a third seize this opportunity multiple times a week

  • When considering snacks at the store, consumers cite protein as the most important nutritional attribute they seek (55%). This is especially true among those most time-crunched. 

  • Energy is also a top-rated attribute as 60% of consumers look to their favorite snack products to provide energy. Generationally, millennials (72%) are by far the group most likely to be looking for a pick-me-up, followed by Generation Z (62%). 

  • Across all generations, nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) refuse to sacrifice taste when selecting their snacks. Baby boomers are the most unwilling to compromise on taste (84%), followed by Generation X (75%). 

  • 2024 is expected to see the continued rise of the self-proclaimed “Snack Savant,” who embraces all things food, adventure and community. Millennials (83%) and Gen Z (82%) embrace this title most of all — and the majority of Snack Savants are city dwellers (77%). 

Source: Convenience Store News