Are Mini-Meals a Millennial Mega Trend?
Move over chips, candy bars and soda!
Today's consumers want high nutrition whole-food
products that they can eat on-the-go.
Millennials want healthy snack choices and they want them NOW. That is to say, most will consume a snack within an hour of buying it. These snacks will often be mini-meal replacements, purchased with the same focus on nutrition normally applied to a full meal—minus the prep and clean-up.
This is opening up a whole new and exciting range of grab-and-go product development opportunities for savvy food companies.
Convenience-based snacking now represents 50% of all eating occasions
That's a lot of snacking!
More than half of all Americans consume over 3 snacks a day according to the Mintel Group. They predict that snacking will grow by 31% from 2015 onwards, to $28.6 billion by 2018. Sales of snacks account for a whopping 40% of the $370 billion U.S. packaged food market according to Elizabeth Sloan, writing for the IFT. 1
"Convenience-based snacking now represents 50% of all eating occasions," writes Laurie Demerrit from the Harman Group. "Consumer snacking opportunities now occur around the clock. Individual or semi-alone eating now represents 47% of all eating occasions, thus driving the demand for single-serve options." 2
"The way Millennials snack is "reshaping the country's perception of snacks and how manufacturers should market their products," said Jared Koerten, senior food analyst at Euromonitor. Grab and go foods have benefited from the snack as a meal replacement trend. At the same time, Millennials are looking for fresh, unprocessed ingredients. 1
. . . And We Want it Fresh and Healthy
In addition to looking for convenience, consumers are continuing to shift to mindful, healthy snacking, particularly since these snacks are often replacing meals. Hassle-free fruit, vegetables, cheeses and hold grains in easy single-serve packaging were a big hit at Natural Products Expo West this year. Millennials and Millennial parents are most likely to be reaching for hummus and fresh carrots instead of potato chips, for a grain and protein salad instead of a candy bar, for yogurt or an avocado smoothie cup instead of a handful of cookies.
According to Sloan, nearly 9 in 10 adults (87%) feel that fresh foods are healthier.
• 78% of consumers are making a strong effort to eat more fresh versus processed foods.
• In the past five years, U.S. natural and organic food and beverage sales have nearly doubled from $40 billion in 2010, to an estimated $80 billion in 2015. 3
The desire for convenient, on-the-go options, that are also fresh and nutritious, are the snack of choice for 12MM+ millennial parents, who are having a strong influence on the next generation.
Are Fresh, On-the-Go, Mini Meal Opportunities For You?
This is an exciting opportunity for companies to put these two explosive trends together and come up with winning combinations that appeal to Millennials’ sense of adventure. How about a Chia pudding and fresh fruit cup, or yogurt parfaits with fresh savory toppings?
We designed EcoTensil on-package utensils precisely to allow spoonable snacks, from yogurt to grain salad, to become truly grab-and-go." adds Peggy Cross, Founder and CEO of EcoTensil
Busy, on-the-go lifestyles create a demand for quick, nutritional meals, according to Jeff Fromm, Forbes Magazine. From easy-to-open packaging to pre-sliced and low-prep options, brands that can deliver convenient selections will continue to rise alongside the growing Millennial generation.
There is a huge opportunity for brands to gain marketshare in portable, healthy, snack-sized meal options. 4
Sources and resources:
1 Elizabeth Sloan, “The top 10 food trends”, April 2015
2 What's in Store, IDDBA, 30th Edition, 2016
3 Nora DiNuzzo, “ExpoWest2015 Trend Report”
4 Forbes Magazine, September 9, 2015