Reshaping the snack

Frozen Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Banana Bites

Between chaotic morning routines and after-work activities, it is an understatement to say that Canadians’ lives have gotten busier. With this shift, the three meals a day routine sometimes falls to the wayside. Whether for convenience or health, snacking has taken a leading role in national consumption habits, translating to big sales in the retail world.

In 2014, the snack category represented $374 billion in global annual sales; North America accounted for $124 billion of these sales, with a 2% increase from 2013. The crave-worthy flavour profile for North Americans was predominantly salty (one-fifth of snack sales), but don’t ask consumers to choose favourites too often! Choice is king when it comes to snacking, with consumers seeking versatility to tickle their taste buds and serve as meal replacements throughout the day.

While consumers still enjoy indulgent snacks - like chips and cookies - Nielsen’s snacking study shows that they’re also reaching for healthier fare. In North America, respondents rated fruits (#5), vegetables (#8) and peanut butter (#9) among the top 10 snack foods they ate in the last month. A study by Erickson Research in 2015 showed that 60% of Canadians regularly snack on peanuts, making them the second most preferred snack food, after chips (66%). Moreover, almost one in five Canadians preferred peanuts over any other snack food.

Another study by Erickson confirms that when it comes to snacking, consumers are spooning and spreading - peanut butter, that is. Their findings show that consumers look to peanut butter for a quick, on-the-go meal or snack; in fact, one-third eat it straight out of the jar. More than a snack on a spoon, peanut butter, on average, is consumed during two different parts of the day, more than other spreads like cream cheese and honey.

Beyond being a quick fix, peanut butter’s nutritional content and high satiety makes it a snack to look for. With 42% of Canadians often or sometimes substituting snacks for breakfast, consumers will need to opt for healthy fare to get them through the day. Ticking the health boxes, along with delicious taste and affordability, there’s no doubt why Canadians continue to reach for the trusty PB and toast in the morning!


Sources: Nielsen's Global Survey of Snacking, Erickson Research,