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    LATE NIGHT MUNCHIES: All snack categories are more likely to be purchased later than 10 p.m. — except for energy/nutrition bars (we suspect those shoppers are already asleep).

    Snacking remains popular among U.S. consumers, with salty snacks like potato chips and pretzels in the shopping basket of more than half of all c-store shoppers.

    Of the total respondents surveyed, 46 percent bought packaged salty snacks, 33 percent purchased packaged sweet snacks, 20 percent purchased meat snacks, and 11 percent bought energy or nutrition bars in the past month.

    This order of preference held true across all customer subsegments, including gender, income, region and age. For example, 42 percent of males and 53 percent of females picked up a salty snack, while 48 percent of consumers in the Midwest made a similar purchase.

    Females were just as likely to add a meat snack to their basket as males, both at roughly 20 percent of respondents indicating they made such a purchase in the past month. By region, consumers in the West bought meat snacks the most — at 23 percent.

    Not surprisingly, c-store consumers who have children make more snack purchases than those without kids. Specifically, 51 percent of those with children bought salty snacks in the past month, 40 percent sweet snacks, 31 percent meat snacks and 16 percent energy or nutrition bars. This compares to 43 percent of those without children who bought salty snacks, 28 percent sweet snacks, 13 percent meat snacks and 8 percent energy or nutrition bars.

    The real differences in snacking, though, seem to come with age. According to CSNews’ research, the older you get, the less likely you are to buy snacks. Notably, 55 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds bought a c-store salty snack vs. 36 percent of consumers aged 55 or older.

    The pattern is repeated down the line: 42 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds bought a sweet snack, 25 percent bought a meat snack and 10 percent bought an energy or nutrition bar. On the other end of the age spectrum, only 23 percent of consumers aged 55 or older bought a sweet snack, 8 percent bought a meat snack, and about 5 percent bought an energy or nutrition bar.

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