CHICAGO—Consumers' growing awareness of nutrition and healthy eating habits have helped fresh fruit become the fastest-growing snack food in America and the No. 1 choice for a quick snack, according to new market data from the NPD Group. an increase in fruit consumption and as a snack food.
The “Snacking in America" report examined attitudes and behaviors about snacking and snack selection motivators and found that in a 2-year period ending March 2012, fresh fruit was the snack of choice in 10 more snack occasions a year than chocolate (the second top snack food) and on 25 more occasions a year than potato chips (the third top snack food).
Data reveal six motivating factors for snack consumption, including health and weight; satiety; convenience; habit; cravings; and a treat or reward. Fresh fruit was the snack of choice for each motivator, except as a treat or reward.
According to the report, fresh fruit is a snack favorite for all ages. In fact, consumers age 65 years and older eat the most fruit, followed by children under age 12. Teenagers eat the least fruit.
"Among the opportunities this trend presents to producers and produce retailers to market and merchandise fruit around the activities during which it is most likely to be eaten, usage can be expanded with packaging innovation and promotions for on-the-go activities when its least likely to be consumed," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.