Snacking today – playground for nutritional conflicts

Dirk Ziems

Life is increasingly becoming “one continuous snack”. From the cereal bar for breakfast to dipping as a substitute for cooking in the evening – for every food company interested in launching attractive innovations, thorough knowledge of current snacking trends is essential. concept m has gained extensive insights into the psychology of snacking products from the many snacking studies it has conducted.

De-ritualisation of everyday nutrition

Many people can observe this behaviour in themselves: in the age of multi-tasking and the constant temptation of digital distraction it is hard to maintain ordered structures of daily life. This also affects eating patterns which are becoming increasingly fragmented. Instead of keeping to the classic meal sequence of breakfast, lunch and dinner, more and more consumers are eating small bites between other activities or on the side. At the same time finger food is replacing the classic full meal in many places.

Snacks as “mood food”

The main psychological effect of snacking: the function of eating is moving away from the sating effect of the former main meal towards triggering moods of comfort, reward, sweetening or bringing back to earth as the situation requires. The snacking product can be used to colour the mood of a situation: boredom during the office break is dispelled with the funny, bright corner of the Müller-Milch yoghurt. The loneliness and emptiness of single living is concealed by the stylish comfort of indulging in a Magnum.

Endless temptation and conscious eating resolutions

As a result, snacking becomes a playground of nutritional conflicts. The modern consumer puts himself under the pressure to eat a diet that is as healthy and balanced as possible in order to stay fit as society demands. Snacking indulgences seem like a short break from this pressure – but at the same time little digressions are again an occasion to be even more critical with the self. Since consumers are trapped in the conflict of wanting to enjoy and having to function, snacking products claiming to reconcile these tensions are all the rage: for instance “Natural Chips” kept in the natural state or “Kinder” chocolate products that bring back the liveliness of a happy childhood.

Constant need for innovations

The snacking market cannot stand still also because consumers constantly seek new products to temporarily mediate their fundamental snacking conflicts. Our studies show that, after using a product for some time, the danger of switching is always great – the next snacking product constellates the nutritional conflicts in a new way.

Well-organised innovation processes lessen the risk of flopping

The well-organised management of snack product innovations is a necessary requirement for market success. To meet with consumers’ approval, it is essential for companies to take up the right trends and to translate these into the right product messages. concept m supports processes of innovation from idea generation to marketability. With our research and consulting we help you to set the course of innovation as well as to identify and sharpen the concepts with the most potential.

More information on the topic can be obtained from:
thomas.ebenfeld@test.local, dirk.ziems@test.local and rochus.winkler@test.local 


Dirk Ziems
Dirk Ziems ist Experte für tiefenpsychologisches Marketing und berät auf Basis von Markt-, Medien- und Kulturforschung weltweit Unternehmen und Konzerne in zahlreichen Branchen und Ländern. Als Mitbegründer der Global Research Boutique Concept M und der Marketingberatung Flying Elephant begleitet er Themen wie die Adaption von Erfolgsprodukten in neuen kulturellen Kontexten, das tiefe Verständnis neuer Konsumgenerationen in China und USA, die Transformation der Werbekommunikation in der neuen digitalen Medienwelt oder die Neuorientierung der Brands in Post-Corona-Zeiten. Dirk Ziems ist auch als Gastdozent an verschiedenen Universitäten tätig.

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