CHICAGO -- U.S. citizens eat an average of 7.4 healthy snacks per week, according to new research. Additionally, 25% of these respondents said they snack 10 or more times per week, with an average of more than twice per day, according to Mintel, a research company based here.
lion this year, a 41% increase from 1998. This growth rate is faster than the overall rate for the entire food and beverage industry, according to Mintel. Yogurt and energy, cereal and snack bars are doing particularly well, researchers concluded.
Mintel noted that healthy snack sales were not adversely affected by the controversy surrounding olestra, a fat substitute. While a significant portion of sales in 1998 came from the introduction of products containing olestra, adverse side effects caused sales to fall rapidly in 1999.
Consumers seeking healthy snacks have so many choices that the market can absorb product failures and changes in dieting trends, Mintel reported. One such trend occurred in the late 1990s, when the reigning diet fad was low-fat. This led to an increase in all-protein diets and carbohydrate counting. The annual rate of sales growth in the healthy snacking market was not affected much, as consumers shifted from low-fat and no-fat healthy snacks to those high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
Healthy snack manufacturers can target two consumer groups, according to Mintel: people who are overweight, and those who already have healthy diets and are making active choices in terms of health and weight control.