June 8, 2023


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How America turned into a nation of snacks

How America turned into a nation of snacks

New York
CNN Business

forget breakfast, lunch and dinner. People can’t get enough of what’s in between.

Big companies reported it snack sales go up. Net sales of Doritos, Cheetos, Ruffles, PopCorners, Smartfood and SunChips grew by double digits in the second quarter. Pirate’s Booty retail sales jumped about 32% and SkinnyPop sales increased about 17%.

This is partly because Snacks are getting more expensiveAnd because people are returning to their lives outside the home and want food they can eat on the go.

But not only this. Eating habits have changed, and people are increasingly eating snacks instead of traditional meals. About 64% of consumers worldwide said they would rather eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than a few large ones, according to
/stateofsnacking/2021/2021_MDLZ_stateofsnacking_report_GLOBAL_EN.pdf “target = “_blank” > 2021 snack survey by Mondelez

. This is up from 59% in 2019. About 62% reported replacing at least one meal per day with snacks.

America’s eating habits have always changed over time. The Industrial Revolution ushered in the three-meal-a-day paradigm. Packaging innovations at the dawn of the 20th century brought snacks into the mainstream. Huge supermarkets have given consumers a seemingly endless array of shiny and bright items to choose from.

And during the pandemic, a major shift in how millions of Americans work has opened up new snack categories—good news for snack sellers, but not for our health.

The US snack food market grew from about $116.6 billion in 2017 to an estimated $150.6 billion in 2022, and is expected to grow to $169.6 billion in 2027, according to Euromonitor International, which includes fruit and ice snacks. Cream, biscuits, snack bars and candy. Delicious snacks in the category.

“Snacking today is rampant,” said Sally Lyons-Watt, executive vice president at market research firm IRI. “It’s a lifestyle.”

But not until recently.

That may be the norm today, said Ashley Rose Young, a food historian at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, but historically, eating three meals a day “certainly wasn’t the norm.” This practice became popular in the United States thanks to the Industrial Revolution, when factory schedules dictated workers’ eating patterns.

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“You might want to eat a meal before you head to work to power you through the day,” Young said. Then “there will be a midday break, to recharge…then have your post-work meal.”

As meals become more standardized in the United States, new rules about eating have emerged—and with them, new attitudes toward snacking.

A peanut stand on West 42nd Street in New York City, circa 1905.

In the 19th century, street vendors selling snacks like peanuts were stigmatized as being associated with the working class and the poor, as Abigail Carroll explains in her 2013 book “Three Squares” on American snacking and eating habits. “As meals—especially dinners—become more social, more polite, and more specific, snacking becomes counterproductive,” she wrote.

But the food vendors saw a business opportunity in snacks – if they could figure out a way to get them off the streets and into the house. To do this, they needed better packaging, something that would seal an item and keep it fresh.

Eventually, a group of entrepreneurs cracked the code, opening the door to the rest of the industry. their product? Jack cracker.

Frederick and Louis Roeckheim, two German brothers who lived in Chicago, developed sweet popcorn and a peanut snack. Carroll recounted that in 1896, they traveled with her from town to town to exchange samples and spread the word about the product. To keep Cracker Jack fresh longer, they worked with a man named Henry Eckstein, who developed a special wax lining for the bags in which they were sold. In the following years, companies like Nabisco and Kellogg built this technology or adapted it to their own elements, opening the door to others.

Cracker Jack's innovative packaging has helped usher in a new era of snacking.

Over the years, other shifts in American culture and technology have made snacking on the go more appealing, noted Young, the food historian.

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microwave oven, It was first introduced in 1955It allows a whole new type of packaged food. And after World War II, more people started buying their groceries from large-scale retailers, rather than green groceries in their area. “You have these huge supermarkets with shelves and racks full of boxed snacks,” Young said, contributing to the country’s snack culture.

And once millennials started shopping for themselves, the trend accelerated even more.

IRI’s Watt, who has been tracking snack trends for decades, said boomers and GMs tend to indulge in a snack in the afternoon or evening. However, millennials also snack in the morning.

“Millennials are already starting to change the way they are [people] Watt said. “I’ve definitely started seeing smaller meals and/or snacks… being eaten throughout the day,” she said.

Then the pandemic happened, and another shift occurred, Watt noted: People started eating more late-night snacks.

This was in part due to the way people are spending their days during the pandemic. Because kids are stuck at home during traditional working hours, some parents spend more hours at night and snack on to refuel. Others developed new routines that included staying up late.

The option of late-night treatment without ever having to leave your home is now available thanks to The sudden spread of delivery services for 15 minuteswhich encouraged people to order an item or two when they had a sudden craving.

Now, with people returning to the office and a more regular work schedule, they may be less interested in eating late-night snacks. But food vendors will likely continue to try to market food in this time frame. “I don’t think they’re going to fall and it’s irrelevant,” Watt said.

So what does all this snacking mean for our health? It depends on what you consider a snack.

“Those who pick out whole fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean sources of protein, or are aware of portion size from their snack—it can sometimes help them meet some of the recommendations and guidelines,” said Jessica Pehoniak, R.D., a registered dietitian. and Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

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But other items, such as candy, soda or potato chips, that contain saturated fats and high levels of sodium and added sugars, can create unhealthy habits. ‘Regularly eating these types of items’ can increase preference for these types of foods, leading to changes in eating behaviors and diet quality, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. source of nutritionGeneral School Guide to Healthy Eating.

Looking at ingredients and nutritional information can help consumers understand exactly what is in their snack.

Snack vendors offer so-called “best for you” options, which may contain less sugar or come in smaller portion control packages. For some, these substitutions can be very helpful when it comes to weight management, Behoniak said, noting that people should be mindful of serving sizes because smaller packages may still contain more than one serving.

When it comes to shelf-stable packaged goods — even those that claim to be better for you — consumers should read the nutritional information on the packages.

“They did something to make it shelf stable,” Behuniak said. “The important part there is to look at food labels,” she said, and watch for sodium content, added content, and saturated fat. Your healthy choice, she said, might be something that doesn’t come in a package at all, like a crunchy piece of fruit or veggies.

It is also worth noting that recent studies have found that All ultra-processed foods are linked together cancer and early death.

It’s not clear if when or how often you eat matters. For some, Behuniak said, it’s easier to snack rather than make time for sit-down meals. But as long as you make the right food choices, “I think that’s totally fine.”