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NATIONAL REPORT -- Forty percent of Americans would prefer to reach for snack foods throughout the day instead of eating the traditional three square meals, according to a recent survey. What’s more, 78 percent of those surveyed say they indulge in snack foods for lunch, and 55 percent say they reach for a snack in lieu of dinner.
The Rethink Your Snack Survey, commissioned by Snack Factory's Pretzel Crisps, revealed that the younger generations tend to skip the full-course meal and go right to the snack aisle when they are hungry. In fact, 46 percent of 18- to 49-year olds make snacking a major part of their day, compared to only 31 percent of their 50-and-older counterparts.
Despite the generational gap, more people from all age groups are relying on snacks to get them through the day. Whether it's sweet, salty, crunchy or full of flavor, snack foods have become a staple in the American diet, the research showed.
The survey, conducted by Kelton Research, found that when it comes to snack time, 59 percent prefer to sample a variety of treats. However, in the debate between snacks that taste good and snacks that are healthy, America's taste buds are guiding their decisions. About 63 percent would rather eat a snack that appeals to their senses than their waistlines, while 60 percent confess to consuming more than the recommended portion.
Almost nine in 10 Americans (86 percent) take the health content of their snack foods into consideration. When selecting small bites, calories (55 percent) and fat (48 percent) are the top two pieces of nutritional information Americans look for, while carbohydrates (31 percent) are less important.
Seven in 10 Americans prefer to snack in peace and quiet. When reaching for a snack, 57 percent reach for salty treats over sweet indulgences, and 62 percent say they snack when they are feeling happy.
When it comes to parenting, variety can often be the key to keeping children happy. Perhaps that is why more parents than non-parents (66 percent vs. 56 percent) prefer an assortment of go-to snacks. The wide snack selection could also be why more parents than those without children (56 percent vs. 45 percent) choose snacks for breakfast.
The survey was conducted by Kelton Research in August using an e-mail invitation and an online survey to 1,007 nationally representative Americans aged 18 and older. Findings in this report have a margin of error of plus/minus 3.1 percent.