Snack preferences differ between millennials, boomers

by Monica Watrous
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CHICAGO — It’s no secret snacking is on the rise, but a new study suggests preferences for away-from-home options vary between baby boomers and millennial consumers.

In a survey of 1,314 participants, comprised of 942 millennials aged 19 to 36 and 372 boomers aged 49 to 67, researchers from Culinary Visions Panel, Chicago, found both groups seek value and freshness in snack options available at foodservice venues.

However, while boomers choose less-expensive items, millennials prefer portability and convenience. Additionally, the younger demographic favors a variety of snacks not associated with a particular day part, while the older generation sticks to a more limited selection of items tied to different times of day.

“Targeting consumers by age and life stage within significant demographic groups, such as millennials and baby boomers, can be effective in successfully promoting snacks in different foodservice venues,” said Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions Panel.

More than one-third of millennials reported an increase in snacking from a year ago, with 26- to 30-year-olds indicating three or more snacking occasions per day, while only 13 percent of boomers said they are snacking more often. Both consumer segments buy snacks from convenience stores, quick-service restaurants, supermarket delis and bakeries.

Brand recognition is not a priority for either group. Twenty percent of millennial consumers and 11 percent of boomers prefer branded snack items.
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