The real reason why young people are snacking more

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You are not alone.

A new survey from market research group Mintel shows 23 percent of young adults aged 21-38 are snacking more this year compared with 12 months ago, and not just because they're hungry: Instead, 27 percent of this group said they snack because they are bored, and 17 percent do so because they are stressed.


"Our research shows that Millennials are more likely to snack compared to older generations as a means to fulfill emotional and functional needs, including combating boredom or stress and increasing energy and focus," said Amanda Topper, Food Analyst at Mintel. "Older consumers did not grow up with all-day snacking and may continue to view snacks as treats."

The study also suggested more frequent snacking may be replacing standard daily meals, with 39 percent of young adults saying they snack for energy.


But Topper said they're at least trying to be "healthy" about it.

"Millennials are also more likely than older generations to indicate snacks with added nutrition and flavor variety are important to them," she said. "As a result they may be drawn to products with high fiber, energizing claims or protein content to stay satiated, as well as bold flavors to help add variety to their frequent snacking occasions and eliminate boredom."

Still, Mintel says most adult snackers still place more importance on taste and flavor than perceived healthfulness when making purchase decisions.

Other findings:

• Nearly all Americans—94 percent—snack at least once a day.

• 50 percent of all adults snack two to three times per day.

• 74 percent of consumers agree flavor is more important than brand, while 51 percent agree taste is more important than health.


• 70 percent agree that "anything can be considered a snack these days."

"With a third of consumers saying they are snacking on healthier options more often this year compared to last year, there will be an increasing need for better-for-you snacks, in smaller portions and convenient formats," Topper said. "This addresses consumers' desire to balance both health and indulgence."


Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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