Nine Out of Ten Snacks Consumed at School are Brought from Home, Reports NPD

Fresh Fruit and Potato Chips Among Most Popular In-School Snacks

Chicago, September 10, 2013 — School bells are ringing again and along with the daily bundle of books and school supplies are the all-important snacks. According to snacking research by The NPD Group, a leading global information company, students, ages 6-12, consume 4.1 snack-oriented convenience foods daily in and out of school, and teens, 13 to 17, consume 3.8 snacks daily. NPD’s SnackTrack®, which every day of the year tracks all snacking occasions in- and away-from-home, reports that 90 percent of school snacks are brought from home.

The most popular school snacks, whether eaten at lunch or at snack time, vary by age group and often the variation is due to when there is parental influence and when there isn’t. In the case of 6 to 12 year-olds, an age when parents often choose the foods and beverages their children eat, fresh fruit, fruit cups/applesauce, potato chips, meal kits, and yogurt are the top school snacks, according to NPD’s SnackTrack®. Teens, who tend to make their own food choices, include gum, fresh fruit, potato chips, chocolate bars/candy bars, and granola bars among their most popular school snacks. For both age groups, sandwiches are still the reigning school lunch entrée and are included in two-thirds of school brown bag lunches, reports NPD’s National Eating Trends®, which tracks daily all aspects of U.S. consumer’ eating behaviors.

Top 5 Snack-Oriented Foods Consumed at School By
6-12 year olds 13-17 year olds
Fresh Fruit Gum
Fruit cups/Applesauce Fresh Fruit
Potato Chips Potato chips
Meal Kits Chocolate Candy/Candy Bars
Yogurt Granola Bars

Source: The NPD Group/SnackTrack®, two years ending March 2013

“Snack foods are increasingly becoming a part of the lunch bag carried by children to school, just like snack foods are becoming part of main meals for all of us,” says Harry Balzer, NPD chief industry analyst and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The bottom line is that we don’t want to prepare foods more often. We don’t even want to make more sandwiches for our kid’s lunch bag, even though sandwiches are still the number one lunch bag item carried by a kid.  Instead we are loading the kids’ lunch bag with easy-to-prepare snack products to be eaten at lunchtime.”

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