In an average seven day period, 41 per cent of Australians snack on potato chips, 37 per cent snack on nuts, and 32 per cent snack on savoury biscuits or crackers.
While these salty treats are the nation’s undisputed favourites, sweet snacks outnumber them when the top 15 snacks enjoyed by Aussies over 14 years of age are considered.
The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show that among the 15 snacks most commonly eaten by Australians in an average week, five are savoury, nine are sweet and one (plain/natural yoghurt) is ‘neutral’.
Angela Smith, group account director, Roy Morgan Research, says that with two of every five Australians saying they ‘tend to snack throughout the day’, the snack market in Australia is huge.
“While potato chips remain the nation’s undisputed favourite snack, their popularity varies between men and women and different age groups. Indeed, this is true of most snacks,” said Smith.
“Age and gender are just two factors that influence a person’s snacking habits – attitudes towards food are obviously another. For instance, more than three of every five Australians say they ‘prefer to eat healthy snacks’ and nearly the same amount restrict how much they eat of fattening foods. Predictably, these people are more likely than others to opt for healthier snacks such as nuts and muesli bars.
“Add sweet tooths and savoury cravings to the equation, and the snack food market gains another degree of complexity.
“This is why an indepth understanding of Australian snack consumers, and their diverse habits, attitudes and preferences, is so vital for snackfood brands to ensure they catch the attention of their target market.”
Women tend to be more likely than men to opt for snacks that are generally considered to be healthy, such as nuts (39 per cent versus 35 per cent), savoury biscuits/crackers (35 per cent versus 28 per cent), natural/plain yoghurt (32 per cent versus 20 per cent) and health/muesli/fruit bars (18 per cent versus 15 per cent).
Nutritional value or calories appear to be of less concern for men, who are more likely than women to snack on potato chips (44 per cent versus 38 per cent) and corn chips (19 per cent vs 15 per cent) in an average seven days.
Ice cream is the great leveller, enjoyed by similar proportions of women and men, whether it’s from a tub (27 per cent of women versus 28 per cent of men) or on a stick (19 per cent of both).
Age is also a determining factor in Australians’ snacking habits. For example, in any given seven day period, 60 per cent of teenagers under 18 and 50 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds snack on potato chips compared with 34 per cent of 50 to 64 year olds and 23 per cent of those aged 65 and above.
What’s more, younger Australians (and those up to 49 years) are more likely than over 50s to tuck into everything from lollies to chocolate bars, corn chips, and health, muesli, or fruit bars.
Among the more mature demographics, nuts and savoury biscuits or crackers are more popular than potato chips, with 50 to 64 year olds being the age group most likely to snack on nuts in an average seven days and Aussies aged 65 and above being the biggest fans of savoury biscuits and crackers.