Snacking study shows consumers favour comfort food amid challenging times

According to the latest state of snacking report by Mondelez, it seems nine in ten of us are eating the same, if not more, treats than we did before the lockdown.

This matters significantly amid this huge global market – which has been valued at over $600 billion annually by sector analysts, with manufacturers set to reap the rewards of this clear trend.

Perhaps the most telling findings from the company’s latest survey was the fact that one of the key drivers for purchases related to the need for comfort food amid challenging times that the ongoing pandemic has presented.

Notably, it was found that social media influenced purchases of at least a third of customers, perhaps reflecting companies core market focus on younger generations who have proved the most receptive to online marketing campaigns.

One of the most intriguing findings, which may well be of concern to nutritionalists, is the fact that of more than 6,000 people surveyed from around the world, two thirds of them were now snacking to replace traditional meals. That’s maybe not so much of an issue if those treats are on the healthier spectrum of the market, but for those tempted to go a little too far in their indulgence with confectionery are in some cases considering such items as meal replacements, then this could flag up a significant health issue.

However, to manufacturers’ credit, there has been an increasing level of energy placed on developing healthier options, and in providing ‘better-for-you’ ranges within the collective portfolios of many confectionery businesses, which shows no sign of slowing. Indeed, in the case of Mondelez itself, it has been conducting a policy of promoting ‘mindful snacking’ to encourage consumers to continue enjoying its product ranges in moderation as part of a balanced wider diet.

While none of us has a crystal ball as to quite how long the coronavirus pandemic will continue, it will be fascinating to see whether buying habits of consumers that have dominated recent headlines, will continue as we hopefully move towards more settled times ahead during 2021. The announcement of a new vaccine providing 90% effectiveness against covid may well yet prove to be a game changer in that respect, potentially heralding a return to near normality within the coming months.

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