Millennials Have Nothing on Boomers When It Comes to Snacking

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Boomers total approximately 90.4 billion ready-​to-​eat snack eatings a year, 20 percent more than Millennials. Millennials are the shining stars of today’s marketplace but when it comes to snacking — which is all the rage in the food industry — it’s Boomers who shine, The NPD Group finds.

Boomers eat ready-​to-​eat snack food 20 percent more often than Millennials do, according to NPD’s daily tracking of U.S. consumers snacking habits.

Bulk food stores can take this opportunity to target Baby Boomers in advertising. AudienceSCAN found 24% of Baby Boomers shop at warehouse/​discount shopping clubs. Focusing on bulk snack offerings could bring in more traffic!

While Millennials overtook Boomers in population number in 2015, both generational groups are large and it’s the size of the prize that appeals to snack manufacturers.  In terms of snack eatings the size of the prize is substantial. Based on NPD’s snacking research, annual eatings of ready-​to-​eat snacks per Boomer are about 1,200, or a total of 90.4 billion snack eatings, and there are about 1,000 snack eatings for each Millennial or a total of 83.1 billion snack eatings.

Make sure to emphasize HEALTHY snack options for this crowd. AudienceSCAN research revealed 51% of Baby Boomers set personal goals to eat healthier this year. And 47% plan to lose weight.

The reasons why each of these generational groups snack are as different as their ages.  Millennials reach for what is often a grab-​and-​go snack because they’re hungry. Boomers snack because they don’t want to prepare a big meal and eat alone more often than other age groups. Both groups choose snacks based on taste and craving.

Millennials are aligned when it comes to the types of ready-​to-​eat snack foods consumed. Fruit, chocolate candy/​candy bars, and potato chips rank as the top three snack picks for both. Boomers and Millennials take different paths after the top three with Boomers reaching for nuts and yogurt and Millennials for the tortilla chips and cookies.

According to AudienceSCAN research, 49% of Baby Boomers want to buy things that help them feel "healthy" In the next 12 months.

Although Boomers hold the top score over Millennials in ready-​to-​eat snack food eatings, they don’t come close to kids when it comes to the amount of snack foods consumed. Kids, ages 2–17, consume an average of 1,500 snack foods per year, an above average amount compared to other age groups. Healthier snack foods rank highest with kids, particularly with kids 2–5, ages where parents primarily control what they’re eating.  Sweet and savory snacks start to creep up in rank with older kids.

Target Baby Boomers with health-​oriented ads in emailed ads or newsletters, because 24% of them took action after receiving offers in their inboxes, according to AudienceSCAN data.

Our snacking research shows us that all snackers are not alike. Motivations, snack food choice, and when and where to snack differs among age groups,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst and author of the company’s Snacking in America study. “Everyone gets it that as a nation we like snack foods but the key for food manufacturers is to find the nuances in snacking behaviors in order to differentiate a brand or find a white space opportunity.”

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.