The Snack Hack Series: #5 Understanding the Snacking Landscape

In conjunction with being aware of the cultural drivers of Millennial snacking behaviors, brands must also grasp the entirety of the snacking landscape.


First and foremost, it’s not as simple as just “snacking.” For brands looking to capture their fair share of the snacking category, it’s critical to understand the true competitive environment — one that includes a vast variety of potential competitors thanks to the fact that, according to Mintel, 70% of Millennial snackers consider anything to be a snack these days.

This landscape has no lack of possible snacking options, and contrary to popular belief, consumers aren’t screaming for more because there are already so many possibilities. As a result, the competitive marketplace has completely opened up and brands in the space need to look at all categories and brands as direct competition. For example, while a Boomer would consider a slice of leftover pizza a meal, a Millennial may grab it as a quick afternoon snack. This disassociation with daypart and food type proves that Millennial snackers are open to different types of food than what was traditionally considered a snack.


In addition to understanding competition, brands must discover the full context of consumers’ snacking occasions to compete effectively. These snacking occasions consist of:

Time of Day and Need occasions prove to be particularly important within the overall snacking category for brands just beginning to explore their full potential, as the two together provide significant insight into potential snacking choices of consumers. 

With this in mind, use the chart below to begin thinking about how you can map which consumer needs your brand fulfills against the occasion in which Millennials are snacking.


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

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