“They’re letting go of some of the more traditional favorites and going to more adventurous foods,” she said.
Again, Balanko said potatoes lend themselves to the trend, but consumers may need to be provided with inspiration through recipes or demonstrations.
Because most consumers are connected digitally, social media such as Pinterest and Facebook are inexpensive avenues to plant those seeds, Balanko said.
Since 2012, snacking has accounted for 53% of food consumption, regardless of the consumer’s age.
“Consumers are snacking on everything,” she said. “It could be pasta, it could be a bar. It could be a smoothie.”
And snacking isn’t just limited to the late afternoon, either. It’s now an around-the-clock occurrence.
An increasing number of consumers — 47% — are eating alone, whether it’s grabbing a bite at their desk or dining at a restaurant with smartphone or tablet in hand.
In addition, today’s consumers want to get to know the people behind their food, and they want food that’s produced responsibility, both environmentally and socially.
“This is the pathway to trust and repeat purchases,” she said. “They want to get to know their food. Because of the experiential culture, they want to be seduced and romanced by their food experiences.”