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An Apple a Day Keeps Chocolate at Bay
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An Apple a Day Keeps Chocolate at Bay

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Who doesn’t love a good snack? Always at the ready, those crispy, crunchy, chewy provisions are our comfort food when we are down, meal replacement when we are in a hurry, companion when we are relaxing and party staple when we are celebrating. Eating between meals is almost unanimously widespread. New research from The Nielsen Global Survey on Snacking has revealed that 96 percent of Australians say they regularly consume snack foods.

The research showed that Aussies’ healthy habits do prevail overall, but by only a slim margin; 64 percent of Australian respondents said they’d consumed fresh fruit as a snack in the past 30 days – the most popular choice overall. Chocolate came in at a very close second with 62 percent opting for a sweet treat, followed by cheese by just over half (54%) of those surveyed.

When asked about their first choice of snack, fresh fruit also came up trumps with almost one in five (19%) choosing the healthy option, followed by chocolate (14%) and a mid-meal sandwich coming third (9%). The most popular reason for snacking is ‘to satisfy hunger between meals’ – as cited by 80 percent of Australians who eat snack foods.

Snacks are most often bought at the supermarket – 94 percent compared to a convenience store, 47 percent. Small, local neighborhood stores are frequented for snacks by 37 percent of Aussies followed by vending machines by one-in five (21%).

Snack shoppers are also concerned with brand names. Almost half (44%) said that they prefer to buy brand name snacks.

Promotional activity is a cornerstone of the snack industry, with almost half (45%) of all Australian respondents saying they only buy their snacks on sale. Clearly, precision in price and promotion activity for retailers and snack producing brands is critical to success, along with aligning strategies to changing demographic trends and evolving taste preferences.

The opportunity for nutritious portable meal alternatives

The research has brought to light some concerns around the number of Australians who eat snacks as a meal replacement. It presents a real opportunity to create healthy snack offerings across the board that are easy and convenient to pick up on the run.

More than one-third (38%) of Australians who snack said they had also skipped breakfast, while a whopping 46 percent skipped lunch in favour of a snack in the past 30 days. Fewer Australians seem to miss dinner though, with 33 percent turning to snacks instead of eating a proper night-time meal.

When looking at specific attributes, snack foods that contain ‘no artificial colours’ or ‘no artificial flavours’ are important to 63 percent of Australians. Snacks that are ‘low in fat’ are important for 55 percent of those who snack and ‘gluten free’ is favoured by 30 percent.

Download the Nielsen Global Report on Snacking here

Top 10 Favourite Snacks Among Australian Consumers

Percentage of Australian consumers who said they ate these snacks in the last 30 days.
Source: The Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking

Rank Snack

1

Fresh Fruit (64%)

2

Chocolate (62%)

3

Cheese (54%)

4

Bread Sandwich (53%)

5

Cookies/Biscuits (52%)

6

Crackers/Crispbreads (44%)

7

Vegetables (42%)

8

Nuts/Seeds (40%)

9

Yoghurt (39%)

10

Ice Cream (37%)

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking was conducted between Feb. 17 and March 7, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6 %. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 %Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.