90 percent of Americans snack in between meals throughout the day.
Eating habits in the U.S. have always revolved around three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. But now there’s a new food trend that’s working its way in between meals—snacking.
According to an article in Restaurant Hospitality, the snacking trend is going strong. Research from consultants at The Hartman Group shows that Americans are snacking all day, blurring the lines between what’s a meal and what’s a snack. The group reports that 90 percent of consumers snack multiple times a day. 80 percent of that snacking is done to fill a physical, emotional or social need, while the other 20 percent is mindless.
But even though more Americans are snacking, standard meal habits aren’t going away. Only seven percent of consumers say they receive all of their calories in the form of snacks. That means that people still routinely find time in their days for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Hartman Group says that dinner is viewed as the most important meal because of its social aspect.
This snacking trend is important for restaurants to note because it’s altering the way consumers dine out. As The Hartman Group says, “Our eating is more fluid overall, as consumers eat whenever and however they want.”
That means that as consumers continue to snack, restaurants will need to accommodate a wide variety of appetites. Customers might not be looking for full meals when they go out to grab a bite—they might be more interested in appetizers or something to share. Snacking might not take away our habit of eating three meals a day, but it is changing the way we eat them. So as snacking habits evolve, the restaurant industry will follow.
To read the original Restaurant Hospitality article, click here.