Single-person households in the U.S. are 38 million strong and growing, which stands to reason why this group has an impact on snacking in terms of eating behaviors, packaging, and marketing, reports The NPD Group, a global information company. The growth in snack foods being consumed at meal time are largely driven by people who are eating those meals by themselves, according to NPD’s recently released Snacking in America report.
In 2014 annual eatings per capita of snack foods consumed at meal times among solo diners reached 191 compared to 167 in 2011, which stretched across the U.S. population represents a difference of billions of eating occasions. Similar to larger households, health and weight management is among the key motivations to eat snack foods at meals for solo diners, particularly better-for-you snack foods, finds NPD. Tying into the rise of single-person homes, the most common over-indexing motivator cited across the better-for-you categories was the fact it came in a single-serve package.
Like a majority of other households, single-person households plan the snack foods that they will be eating at meals ahead of time, typically more than a day before. A significantly smaller amount of eating occasions include a snack food that was planned less than an hour before. Supermarkets tend to be the shopping outlets of choice for snack foods consumed at a meal.
“Smaller household sizes and eating alone are among the growing factors with snacking,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Food manufacturers and retailers should think about the unique needs of the solo consumer when developing products and packaging, and marketing messages should be crafted to be relevant to them and their snacking behaviors.”