The new age of eating
Snacks are changing, mealtimes are shifting. The concept of “snackification” fits into our “to-go” millennial lifestyle.
As society changes, the way it eats changes along. For centuries, society was structured around “three square meals a day”. However, due to our increasingly mobile lifestyle and increasingly diverse family arrangements are making the rigid breakfast-lunch-dinner, a thing of past. Presently, flexible scheduling has given rise to a trending phenomenon that goes by the name- “snackification”.
The current real world, after the transition from the industrial age, revolves around a digital one. We are more frequently in motion and also in-between, in “third places”.
Its no surprise that people are eating more and more meals and in the in-between space instead of meals at home on a fixed schedule. People aren’t eating bigger meals, though, they’re eating better quality, healthier food and they’re doing it more frequently.
In other words, we can say that breakfast, lunch, dinner have given way to frequent, smaller meals. Basically, “snacking” has taken an entirely different and new meaning.
What is Snackification
Snackification – a trend in which consumers snack in place of meals. It has reshaped both the nutritional and competitive landscape in snacks.
Snacks aren’t just consumed at the normal hours, as they’re often smaller versions of regular meals. Snackification in layman language is “grazing”, eating “little and often” or just simply snacking.
Effect of the Pandemic on the Snacking behaviour
In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, consumers have stocked up on shelf-stable goods in general and seeking affordable, familiar, comforting foods, such as their favourite salty snacks.
Although, prior to the pandemic, snacks formulated with ingredients like cassava and chickpeas were gaining popularity. Such snack items promised a premium or more healthful experience than the traditional offerings based on potatoes or corn.
As the virus spread, consumers in pursuit of comfort and familiarity and comfort scooped up extraordinary volumes of conventional snacks produced by the leading consumer packaged goods companies. Such dynamics in consumer snacking behaviour are temporary and will continue to evolve in the foreseeable future. Over the coming months, consumers are expected to return to a wide variety of snack options, focussing on the health focussed snacks.
Current Scenario of Snackification
However, in a way or other, we can say that snacking today is vastly different from what it was till some years ago. Crackers laced with sodium and cookies dipped in sugar have made way for various grab-and-go yoghurts, fruits and nuts bar, vegetable and bean snacks, quinoa snacks and amaranth cupcakes.
For a very long time, snacking had been associated with unhealthy food- deep fried and loaded with salt, sugar and empty calories. Currently, the paradigm has shifted towards healthier versions. Snacks like roasted black chana with puffed rice, mixed nuts and seeds, wheat/ quinoa/ bajra puffs, roasted foxnuts, whole fruits and so many other options are available. These healthy snacking alternatives are also known to boost health and immunity. Snackification as a trend is also catching up in India. Brands and companies are also cashing in on the trend. For instance, Tea café chain Chaayos, serves healthy and handcrafted snack options, like egg white chaat and Kala chana chaat. These are high in natural protein and fibre content and are also a popular snack category for breakfast.
Ready to eat brand Sattviko, based in Delhi, has introduced a Gur chana snack. It is packed with protein and carbohydrates and is good for the respiratory system as it flushes out pollutants from the lungs.
Another brand Aadvik Foods offers healthy alternatives like camel milk as a substitute for cow milk. It also produces sugar-free chocolates of the variant. This is a very good option for people suffering from lactose intolerance and diabetes.
Factors favouring “Snackification”
- Time is Currency
Consumer lifestyles have evolved in such a way that has made time increasingly scarce. Factors contributing are urbanisation, demographic shifts and the digital age.
2. Fluid eating habits
The new time pressure is driving consumers to seek for pre-prepared food solutions. Eating habits are also becoming more fluid as consumers seek convenience. Consumers prefer to spend less time on food preparations. The concept of three square meals at a fixed time is fading.
3. Healthy snacking-
Various food and beverage companies have shown their commitment to providing healthy food. In India, companies are engaging in a dialogue to support India’s Eat Right Movement. India has an enormous opportunity to make nutrition a main part of their business plan while also addressing malnutrition in India.
“Hunk” or “Healthy Junk”
Khichdi is a perfect balance of carbohydrates and proteins. Ola Foods is busting the myth that a healthy meal can’t be tasty with its Khichdi Express. It offers around 20 variants of Khichdi such as Palak Paneer khichdi, Kerala mathan khichdi etc. the non-vegetarian variants include Murgh dalcha Khichdi, mutton khichdi.
Hyderabad based Timla Foods’ ready to eat flavoured popcorn brand Popcorn offers low-calorie whole-grain popcorn
Various 5-star hotels have also introduced healthy meals by introducing alternate foods. Hotel Vivanta Surajkund in NCR is experimenting with grains like amaranth, millets, oats, ragi, quinoa, barley, red rice and bulgur.
The current and new snacking culture expects more- more substance, more taste and more nutrition. This trend does not mean that people will not enjoy elaborate meals. Of course, people will but they’ll be reserved for evenings, weekends and special occasions.
Read our article on Pistachios: The treasure chest of good health
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