Global Snack Industry Reaches $374 Billion Annually

Consumers now spend $374 Bn on snack foods annually, with total global snack food spend having grown 2% year on year. Europe makes up $167 Bn (44.7%) of that spend. The shift towards snacking represents huge opportunities for Franchise owners in both the Food and Retail franchise sectors, as consumers look for recognisable brands that they can rely on to provide a balance between taste and health:

“Demand is driven primarily by taste and health considerations and consumers are not willing to compromise on either," said Susan Dunn, executive vice president, Global Professional Services, Nielsen. "The right balance is ultimately decided by the consumer at the point of purchase."

The Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries to identify which snacks are most popular around the world and which health, taste and texture attributes are most important in the selection criteria.

The Snack Opportunity

More than three-quarters of global respondents (76%) eat snacks often or sometimes to satisfy their hunger between meals or to satisfy a craving, and 45% of global respondents consume snacks as a meal alternative— 52% for breakfast, 43% for lunch and 40% for dinner.

Snacks with all natural ingredients are rated very important by 45% of global respondents and moderately important by 32% —the highest percentages out of the 20 health attributes included in the study. The absence of artificial colours (44%), genetically modified organisms (43%) and artificial flavours (42%) are also rated very important. Caffeine-free (23%) and gluten-free (19%) snacks are very important for about one-fourth and one-fifth of global respondents, respectively.

Environmentally conscious consumers believe it is very important that snacks include ingredients that are sourced sustainably (35%), are organic (34%) and use local herbs (25%).