NGA Show 2023: The State of Snacking

Rick Brindle, VP of Industry Development at Mondelēz International, spoke about the growing snack category at the recent NGA Show, offering insights to retailers.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Rick Brindle NGA Show
Rick Brindle, VP of Industry Development, Mondelēz International

Fueled by pandemic trends, formal meals among consumers are decreasing in favor of snacking throughout the day. 

At the National Grocers Association's recent NGA Show 2023 in Las Vegas, Rick Brindle, VP of Industry Development at snack giant Mondelēz International, discussed the changes in consumer behavior surrounding snack foods. Brindle shared insights from the company’s annual State of Snacking report, which could be used in the private label realm for retailers to develop new store-branded snack items.

“Snacking continues to grow: more snackers, more snackers snacking more,” said Brindle. “We’ve seen that since 2013, a high growth trajectory of snacking. COVID took it to a whole other level of course. People are snacking more now than they are eating meals, and that’s significant. In every part of the day, snacking has increased, and people are snacking and replacing meals with snacks, and that changes the game…”

In the report from Mondelēz, 75% of consumers “always find room” for snacks in their grocery shopping, and 55% of consumers make a meal out of snacks at least once a week, showing that the category is growing. He added that more consumers are discovering new snacks, brands and flavors digitally through social media. Personalization is also playing a big role in the snack category, as shoppers seek unique flavors.

snack aisle

“We don’t define snacking as cookies, crackers, chocolate and candy,” said Brindle. “We define snacking as anything that you’re eating that’s not a meal. Folks are doing a lot of research on their snacking, and importantly if you’re a retailer, they’re leveraging digital to then go into stores and buy snacks. That’s what we’re seeing a lot of. It also starts to pick away at the belief that snacking is impulsive.”

Like categories across the story, health, wellness and sustainability have certainly impacted the snack category. In the report, 70% of consumers surveyed said that plant-based snacks are better for the environment, and 65% said they check the ingredient label before purchasing a snack item. However, Brindle added that Mondelēz seeks to strike a balance between health and indulgence, as 78% of consumers surveyed said it was important to have moments of indulgence throughout the day.

“We sell healthy snacks but we also sell indulgent snacks,” he said. “Some of our folks were concerned about selling high-fat snacks, and the reality is that indulgence is a very important part of snacks. We sell that as well as nourishment. Our purpose is to have the right snack for the right moment, made the right way."