Munching between and often instead of mealtime continues to increase across generations in the United States. Snack sales are outperforming total package food and beverages, jumping 3.4% in the past year to hit $42.5 billion-and they are still growing.

We know Gen Z and Millennials are obsessed with snacks and we as marketers are obsessed with them. And rightly so, combined, they will soon have over $3 billion of spending power between them. But while we’re starting to build and develop those tricky relationships, we may be missing a generation of snackers that are easier to reach and could provide a quick sales bump that brands so desperately want.

Baby Boomers still make up more than 20% of the population, so they have a lot of buying power and they love snacking. In the previous year, Boomers munched on 90.4 billion ready-to-eat snack foods, 20% more than Millennials. And the great news for brands: we already know this generation and they are much easier to market to. Boomers spend more on snack and candy products than their millennial counterparts, giving food and marketers a big incentive to target them.

Let’s look at some of the similarities and differences in the snacking habits across generations:

Baby Boomers

  • Usually snack when they don’t feel like preparing a big meal
  • Prefer savory snacks like popcorn, pork rinds, snack nuts, and sunflower seeds
  • Avoid sweet treats as snacks
  • Prefer snacks with low or no saturated fat, reduced sodium, and no or low caffeine

Generation X & Millennials

  • Usually reach for grab-and-go snacks because they’re hungry
  • Prefer snacks like fruit snacks, granola bars, tortilla chips, and other salted snacks
  • Broad appeal for a wide variety of sweet treats

Generation Z

  • Eat more diverse and exotic snacks
  • Value premium and high quality snacks
  • Driven to buy snacks that have a story and a purpose

Similarities

  • All like to snack on fruit, chocolate, and potato chips
  • All want functional and holistic health attributes from their snacks
  • All seek out non-GMO, gluten-free, and organic foods as snacks

So while your brand is figuring out the next generations, you could be connecting to Boomers right now.

Need some help capturing the Boomer generation and figuring out the younger ones? Let’s talk.

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