Boomers Need Snacks Too

The older generation represents an untapped consumer base for snacks.

June 04, 2018

CHICAGO – The snacking revolution isn’t restricted to younger generations—baby boomers like their snacks, too, Food Business News reports. At a recent Information Resources Inc. (IRI) presentation at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, Sally Lyons Watt, IRI’s executive vice president of thought leadership, reminded attendees that the older generation represents a golden opportunity for snack sales.

“You’ve got 74 million consumers out there that are looking for some new options that will appeal to them,” she said. “Their taste buds are different. What they like is different. You’ve got to take that into account and find some ways of attracting those consumers back into the category.”

IRI data shows that snacks continue to outshine total packaged food and beverage in dollar sales, jumping 3.4% over the past 12 months to hit $42.5 billion, while candy sales increased 1.4% to reach $25.3 billion.

“On average, consumers are snacking over 2.5 snacks a day,” Lyons Wyatt said. “And that continues to grow. Younger consumers actually snack more than that, and we think there’s a great potential for future growth in snacking because of the younger consumers eating smaller portions throughout the day and snacking throughout the day.”

While the top snacking categories are dominated by nutrition bars, snack nuts, tortilla chips and potato chips, salted snacks with onion, chickpeas, beans or seaweed are popular. “This is where consumers are gravitating,” she said. “Why? Because it’s exciting. Because they’re getting different snacks and different forms of snacks.”

Boomers prefer pork rinds, popcorn, sunflower seeds and snack nuts, while younger consumers gravitate toward tortilla chips, granola bars and fruit snacks. Boomers also buy less candy, and like low- or no-saturated fat and low-sodium snacks. This group also enjoys confections packed with protein and antioxidants that also are low-sugar and low- or no-caffeine.