America is becoming snackified.
"Snackification" is one of the hot food and dining trends mentioned in restaurant consultancy firm Baum+Whiteman's latest report for 2013.
People are eating less at every meal, but they're making up for it with endless snacking. Snacks now account for one of every five "eating occasions," and the traditional three meals are "degenerating into nibbles and bits."
So, why's this happening?
There are a variety of reasons. People are always on the move, they're looking for a quick satisfying fix, they're needing a jolt of energy or they've missed lunch.
Either way, people are flocking to snacks, and now snacks are getting more sophisticated than they've ever been.
From the report:
Greasy fries no longer do the trick. Snacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated … glorified mini-burgers, wraps with exotic fillings, upscale dips are building off-hours bar traffic. Lots more minis showing up at fast food chains, adding impulse revenue to between-meal shoulder hours … cake bits, mini-dippers, teeny shakes.
You find all-hours grazing across the economic spectrum: Food trucks define a new market for creative, portable food … and hotel lobbies, morphing into livingdining rooms, give rise to social snacking and all-day drinking … and breakfast getting fancified and served at all hours.
Every food purveyor is chasing after serial munchers … particularly convenience stores and drug stores … ramping 7/11 snack tray, Japan, coming to you up new selections with “fresh” connotations. Walgreen, 7/11 et al grabbing market share from fast feeders and restaurant takeaway departments.
And, in turn, companies are responding.
Take fast food for for instance. KFC's a big player in the industry, and it has been leaning toward snacks. It may actually be KFC's "next frontier."
Tim Nelson, president of ad agency Tris3ct, explains to Nation's Restaurant News:
“The next frontier for a place like KFC is to become a snack destination. The sales and traffic growth in QSR is going to come around snacking. You also can sell these Dip’ems in the drive-thru, which where you can sell more drinks, where the best margins come in.”