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Irregulatrity In Eating On The Increase


“Snacking is a mainstream trend that has gathered force over time” with more American’s snacking between meals and even as meals, forcing “retail and food service purveyors to cater to this trend with an increased number and variety of ‘snackable’ items,” according to a report released by Packaged Facts in November.


Specifically, market research conducted by Dupont found more than 86% of Americans snack daily, with the average number of snacks consumed rising 47% to 2.8 snacks per day in 2014 compared to 1.9 in 2010. A deeper dive reveals 51% of snacking consumers eat three or more snacks per day and 49% eat one to two snacks per day, Dupont added. 


The rise in snacking partly is due to time-crunched consumers eating on-the-go, but also the trend traces to the increase of internet and information connectivity, Packaged Facts reveals. 


“Having 24-7 connectivity – anytime, anywhere – has influenced not only the way consumers shop, but also their approach to food. This type of connectivity encourages consumers to take ‘light bites’ of experiences around them – opting for snapshots or highlights rather than taking time to invest in the full experience,” according to the Packaged Facts report written by Kaleidoscope Research Consulting. 


Snacking also is an outgrowth of the trend to eat several small meals throughout the day, according to Packaged Facts. It notes that in 2014, 38.5% of survey respondents indicated that they eat multiple small meals instead of three larger meals. This is up from a third of respondents 10 years earlier. 


Data from Dupont supports this idea that snacking is an all-day affair with 18% of survey respondents in 2014 eating snacks early morning, 37% mid-morning, 68% in the afternoon, 62% in the evening and 46% late night. 


For the most part, when people eat their mini-meals is flexible, with only 9% of people planning four small scheduled meals and 25% saying they eat several small unscheduled meals and snacks. 


Because eating multiple small meals per day is associated with a healthier diet, consumers are selecting healthier or better-for-you foods, according to Packaged Facts. 


But data from Dupont reveals the time of day influences how healthy the snacks selected are. For example, 74% of early morning snacks are healthy – a figure that decreases over the course of the day with only 60% of snacks considered healthy in the afternoon and 27% considered healthy in the late evening.


By Elizabeth Crawford, Food


Note: "Regularity in eating should be carefully observed. Nothing should be eaten between meals, no confectionery, nuts, fruits, or food of any kind. Irregularities in eating destroy the healthful tone of the digestive organs, to the detriment of health and cheerfulness. And when the children come to the table, they do not relish wholesome food; their appetites crave that which is hurtful for them." MH 384


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