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Consumers Cite Taste as Top Snack Purchasing Driver

Seventy-one percent of shoppers say they decide if they will buy snacks before shopping.
Danielle Romano
c-store snack blur

NEW YORK — Snacking has become synonymous with consumers' ever-evolving lifestyles. The where, why and how behind they snack is as important as ever as retailers and suppliers aim to reach consumers.

To get more rounded insights to their snacking habits, 84.51° asked shoppers to share what snacks they're consuming, when and how often, and top reasons they purchase snacks on impulse.

[Read more: Shifting Consumer Behaviors Blur the Lines Between Snacking & Meals]

Insights from the "Consumer Digest: Snacking Trends May 2024" report revealed:

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Shoppers are snacking more frequently than last year and aren't worried about spoiling their dinner.

More than a quarter of shoppers (27%) claimed to snack multiple times per day, up from 15% in 2023. While snacks range from early morning (60%) to late night (25%), the most prevalent times consumers reach for the snacks are afternoon (82%), late afternoon (84%) and evening (84%).

A new favorite snack takes the lead. 

The types of snacks shoppers are buying remained mostly consistent year over year, but cheeses (70%) came in No. 1 in 2024, up from 67% in 2023. Fruits (68%), potato chips (67%), crackers (63%) and chocolate (58%) followed.

Rounding out the top 10 in 2024 are:

  • Cookies (58%)
  • Tortilla chips (57%)
  • Popcorn (57%)
  • Nuts (54%)
  • Yogurt (51%)

Buying snacks is not impulsive, but the type, amount and sizes are. 

Seventy-one percent of shoppers reported they decide if they will buy snacks before shopping, but only half know which specific flavors or varieties. Less still (48%) pre-plan the specific amount of snacks they will buy, and only 42% decide in advance on the specific sizes. When shoppers do buy snacks impulsively, 73% said it was because the snacks were on sale.

Eighty-five percent of consumers said they buy snacks in store, while 29% buy online. Shoppers ages 35 to 44 are more likely than any other age group to purchase snacks online.

Taste and price are key.

Taste/flavor (75%) tops the chart for what is important to shoppers when choosing the perfect snack, followed by fulfilling a craving (55%), convenience (46%) and curbing an appetite (41%).

To determine if they are getting a good value, shoppers look for the following attributes:

  • Price (32%)
  • Quality product (15%)
  • Flavor (13%)
  • Health benefits (10%)
  • Quality brand (8%)

To access the full "Consumer Digest: Snacking Trends May 2024," click here.

84.51° is a retail data science, insights and media company creating relevant and valuable experiences.

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