Profiling snacker

  • Profiling the snacker

    Value for money and speed are not the only two reasons that consumers turn to snacking. They expect a more qualitative offer and will more easily adopt solutions that provide a particular service. As a result, all of the out-of-home catering solutions are converging to meet these new expectations.

     

    In France, snacking is widening its influence both in terms of consumer profile, including a larger number of older consumers for example, and geographically, spreading from Paris to every town and city in the land. A survey conducted by the consultancy Food Service Vision, “Paroles de Snackeurs”, highlights the latest needs and expectations of the clientele of this growing food segment which is no longer the urban, cheap, food-in-a-rush solution of yesteryear.


    It’s not just about price

    Nine French people out of ten over the age of 18 had eaten at least one snack meal in the past three months, with an average of 3.3 meals per month. Their main selection criteria are product quality (95%) and value for money (93%). Value for money may be important, but price is not the only criterion. Consumers are also keen to buy “made on the premises” products (82%) or locally-grown food (65%) which has overtaken organic food in the rankings (48%).

    Snacking is also seen as a leisure activity and not just a necessary evil. While 86% of snackers ate snack meals at lunchtime during the week in the past six months, 39% also consumed snack meals on weekday evenings. American fast food chains, the favourite destinations of younger consumers, are highlighted for their value for money, the transparency of their information regarding product origin, and the digital connections they also offer.

     

    Anywhere, really anywhere

    And the places where people buy snacks are also increasing in variety. According to the survey, 20% of snackers bought their meals in a vending machine, 14% on a fast food stand in their canteen, and 11% from a food truck or food bike. This latest huge trend to hit France has won over consumers thanks to their geographical accessibility (31%) and their speed of service (28%).

    All of this data goes to show that the snack sector is continuing to innovate in order to meet consumer expectations in fields such as service and quality. Similar needs were observed in seated catering in a separate Food Service Vision study, “Paroles de Convives”, which also noted “crossover” demands in seated catering such as speedy service or typical fast-food dishes such as hamburgers and fish and chips. The borders between snacking and traditional catering are becoming less clear-cut: each sector is learning and innovating thanks to lessons learned from the other.

     


    Benoît Jullien – journalist at ICAAL
    January 2015

     

    *Paroles de Snackers, conducted by Food Vision Service on 500 consumers.

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