Most Americans Are Multiple Daily Snackers

Before you leave work for the day, it’s likely many of your coworkers have already had at least a couple of snacking occasions. Perhaps you are also in that group?

Our SnackTrack® information shows among those who use snack-oriented foods, 53 percent of them have two or more snacking occasions on a typical day. That's about 167 million people every day who engage in this behavior. This leaves little doubt that we are a nation of snackers and that these occasions play an important role in our daily caloric intake.

When we hear the word “snacking,” we often think of eating something indulgent or something that might not provide many health benefits. Our recently-released Snacking in America report shows the top snacking food item is fruit. It’s also the top food among those who snack multiple times a day. This might be less shocking when we examine who is most likely to snack multiple times in a day. Kids and adults over age 55 make up most of this group. In fact, 62 percent of kids ages two to 12 are snacking twice or more often on a given day. Since parents keep a watchful eye over their young kids’ intake, it makes sense that fruit is very popular during kids’ snacking occasions. It’s also very common for consumers to have fruit on hand in their homes. Our Kitchen Audit shows 85 percent of households keep fruit in the kitchen — that’s higher than the percent of households that keep on hand crackers, nuts/seeds, yogurt, and cookies. Fruit is top-of-mind, readily available, and provides healthful messages, all of which are key consumption drivers.

It is also common to hear of snacking referred to as the fourth meal of the day, but with so many of us snacking several times each day, it’s hard to simply put it in only one day part. We know there are several peak times during the day when people snack, and they seem to complement, not replace, our main meal occasions. In the Food and Beverage Consumption Survey, we asked consumers the times of day when they consumed all their meals and snacks. The data shows the peak times for snacking occur precisely in between the main meal occasions. In addition, morning snacking occasions happen on both sides of breakfast, lending evidence to the theory that the morning timeframe has become fractured.

The NPD Group is always looking ahead, and we are here to share our insights and knowledge as you plan for your future. For more information about the topics discussed here, please contact Darren Seifer at or speak with your NPD representative.

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