Mondelēz International has released its latest State of Snacking Report, which looks specifically at the shifts in the way Australians have been indulging themselves during the pandemic.

The survey of more than 500 people across the country looked at the latest trends in snacking, the impact of COVID-19 on snacking behaviours, as well as the role of food in providing comfort during a challenging time.

The pandemic has coincided with more snacking for many Australians, with nine in 10 adults (91 per cent) saying they are snacking more during the pandemic than before it.

Among 14 categories of snack foods, the biggest increase in weekly consumption was for local and traditional lollies, with salty snacks and snack bars rounding out the top three.

There was a significant difference in snacking choices by age; centennials and millennials increased their snacking in biscuits (+13 per cent vs previous year), while Gen X and boomers turned to lollies (+10 per cent).

Director of strategy, insights and analytics at Mondelēz, Tom Kimpton, said the results demonstrate the significant change in eating habits brought about by the pandemic.

“People are snacking more throughout the day, a trend that’s strongest amongst those working from home (67 per cent) and millennials and centennials (70 per cent) who say they prefer snacks over meals.”

Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of respondents say they plan to continue to snack throughout the day as opposed to eating a few large meals, and that snacking will be part of their ‘new normal’ even after the pandemic ends (57 per cent).

“Comfort is the number one driver of snacking this year, while the uncertainty caused by the pandemic has seen people turn to trusted brands and their old favourites. Over half of those surveyed said they’ve been buying snacks that bring back good memories during the pandemic (53 per cent), while 72 per cent said they want to stick with the brands they know,” said Kimpton.

While Australians are seeking comfort foods, they’re more conscious of the wellbeing benefits of the snacks they choose, saying they are more focused on the snacks they eat these days (58 per cent), and that they have more control over the portions they eat because they are snacking at home more often (64 per cent).

There are also significant differences between generations in the nutritional benefits of the products they choose; centennials and millennials are more likely to seek snacks that reflect the latest wellbeing trends such as high protein (33 per cent), boost immunity (23 per cent) and are plant based (20 per cent), while boomers are the generation most likely to seek more traditional methods of managing their intake via portion controlled or bite-sized snacks (29 per cent).

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