Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 2.03.23 PMThe snack-food industry is a $374 billion dollar industry, but exactly what are Americans reaching for?

In a new Global Survey of Snacking conducted by Nielsen between Feb. 17 and March 7, 2014, it was discovered Americans are less likely to snack healthy compared to the rest of the world. The survey, which polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America, found abroad chocolate, fruits and vegetables are the most popular snacks. However, on U.S. soil the most popular snacks are chips, chocolate and cheese.

The survey also found people like to snack with a conscious. Environmentally conscious snackers believe it is essential snacks include ingredients that are sourced sustainably, organic and use local herbs. In addition, researchers observed a trend that “less is more.” Approximately, one-third of global participants believe it is very important that snacks be low in sugar, salt, fat and calories. One-fourth of those surveyed want snacks that have either low or no carbohydrates.

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The survey also uncovers the reason why we snack. While individuals snack for the obvious reasons for enjoyment, it was also found today’s consumer believes snacks should serve more than one purpose.

Susan Dunn, executive vice president, Global Professional Services, Nielsen, said, “There is a perception that snacks are intended more for in-between meals than for actual meal replacements. But busy, on-the-go lifestyles often dictate a need for quick meals, and many opt for fast food options that can be high in calories and low in health benefits. There is a massive untapped opportunity to gain market share in the nutritious, portable and easy-to-eat meal alternative market that snack manufacturers could fill.”

Read the full survey here.

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  • Anthony

    As a fat man, and now a parent, I say one of the best things you can do is to introduce your children to healthy snacks early. My wife and I have now banned potato chips, and are encouraging apples, yogurt, grapes, etc.