Snacking Conversations in the United States


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Snacking is big business. As Americans move away from three square meals to a “graze the day” style of eating, savvy food manufacturers and food service operators are transforming food products and menu items to meet changing needs.
As food and nutrition communications experts, MSLGROUP's Food and Beverage Specialty Unit in North America undertook a deeper exploration into the always-on conversation revolving around the snack trend. Read our insights to help your brand jump in on food trends.

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Snacking Conversations in the United States

  1. 1. products Flavor 59 Restaurants are adding more local and variety of moms with kids handmade menu options under 13 consult recipes and/or food preparation minis minis tips online Snacking Conversations Texturenatural flavornatural flavor affects consumers’ perception of a in the United States snack’s overall taste. A white paper from MSLGROUP North America’s Food and Beverage Specialty Unit November 2012 A Look at How Traditional and Social Media Cover Better-For-You NORTH AMERICA Snacking, as Americans Graze the Day Op families nutritious choic Consumers seek healthy options made with high- quality, all-natural ingredients
  2. 2. Table of ContentsPreface: Why Study Snacking Conversations? Snapshot: Perpetual Snacking 2Findings Themes and Brand Mentions Overview 3 Snapshot: Brand Mentions 3 Themes and Their Subgroups At-A-Glance 4 The Themes In-Depth Theme 1: Snacks and Families 6 Theme 2: Snacks and Flavor 8 Theme 3: Snacks and Healthy 10 Theme 4: Snacks and Men 12 Theme 5: Snacks and Minis 14 Theme 6: Snacks and Restaurants 16 Theme 7: Snacks and Texture 18 Theme 8: Snacks and Women 20Appendices About MSLGROUP North America 22 About the Authors 23 Research Methodologies 24NORTH AMERICA 1
  3. 3. PrefaceWhy Study Snacking Conversations?Snacking is big business. As Americans move away from three squaremeals to a “graze the day” style of eating, savvy food manufacturersand foodservice operators are transforming food products and menuitems to meet changing needs. Consider the following: • Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine recently launched six snack SKUs, three flavors of spring rolls and three vegetable dips with pita • General Mills, maker of snacks such as Chex Mix and Bugles, expanded further into the category in February 2012 with its purchase of tortilla and sweet potato chip maker Food Should Taste Good • Food trend experts offered Perpetual Snacking as a top prediction for 2012, as noted in this MSL Conversations blog post (see sidebar on page 3)As food and nutrition communications experts, the MSLGROUP North AmericaFood and Beverage Specialty Unit team undertook a deeper exploration intothe always-on conversation revolving around the snack trend: • Which products and messages receive the most media attention? • How does the story take shape in the blogosphere? • To what degree does nutrition matter? • Which areas are saturated and which have room to grow?We uncovered a robust conversation, largely centered on healthy snackingstrategies (with one noticeable exception, the men’s segment) and a widevariance of opportunities for brands based on the category within the worldof snacks. Overall, we see a large amount of attention within the traditionaland social media spheres on better-for-you snacking, i.e., snack products thatmarry nutrition with the great taste that consumers demand. 2
  4. 4. fInDInGsThemes and Brand Mentions OverviewEight Main ThemesThe following themes emerged in our analysis of trade and consumerpublications as well as blogs, from January 2011-January 2012(see appendix for methodology):“Snacks” and … • Families* • Minis (portion size)* • Flavor* • Restaurant • Healthy • Texture* • Men • Women* *Themes that included brand mentions.Brand MentionsThe search queries resulted in brand mentions for the following themes:families, flavor, minis, texture and women. Other themes may have hadbrand mentions in subgroups, which are noted in the following pages.How to Read the Report • Word Cloud: Graphic of popular keyword search results within each theme. The word cloud results are organized in ascending order with larger words meaning the terms are popular topics within the keyword search. • Main Themes: Each theme begins with the top takeaway within the theme, and is sourced from keyword search results using “Snacks” and the specific theme – i.e., Flavor, Minis, Women. • Brand Mentions: Consumer brands discussed in each theme. • Subgroups: Gathered through keyword searches using “Snacks” and a specific term – i.e., Crackers, Sweet, Dairy. The subgroups listed are the most discussed topics, and are grouped with relevant main themes. • Products/Ingredients/Benefits Mentioned: Product, ingredient or benefit examples discussed in each subgroup. Brand Mentions Among the eight main themes, the five bolded themes above contained the most branded product coverage. This offers some potential direction to communicators in positioning their pitches. A communicator representing a healthy snack for families with children may more likely place a brand mention in the family space (e.g., parenting magazines, mom blogs), while getting a generic mention of beneficial attributes found in their products in the health space. Nutrition media may be more inclined to focus on healthy ingredients like antioxidant-rich blueberries or heart-healthy soy, while parenting media may be more likely to drill down to specific product recommendations by name.NORTH AMERICA 3
  5. 5. FINDINGSThemes and Their Subgroups At-A-GlanceWhat do media also tend to mention in conversations aboutsnacking and families, snacking and healthy, or snacking and flavor? Calories Crackers Whole Grain Dieting Whole Grain Dairy Alternatives Alternatives Weight Loss Low Calorie Sweets Students Dairy-Free FAMILIES HEALTHY Value Nutrition Shapes Homemade Sweet Splurge Pretzels Hummus Superfoods Bars Sweet FLAVOR Fresh Low Calorie Sweets Quick Scan Family snacking conversations are the most pragmatic – quick tips that work for feeding healthy kids fast. The healthy snack space revolves around weight; even splurge stories are about the healthiest indulgences that don’t break the scale. Superfoods offer a brief respite: instead of what you can’t have, they’re what you can enjoy. In the flavor space, the caché of fresh, simple ingredients comes into play, as fresh fruit flavors shine.NORTH AMERICA 4
  6. 6. FINDINGSThemes and Their Subgroups At-A-GlanceWhat do media also tend to mention in conversations aboutsnacking and men, snacking and minis, snacking and restaurants,or snacking and women? Bars MEN MINIS (no subgroups) Artisan Foods RESTAURANT Minis Pub Snacks Pretzels Bars Calories Weight Loss Chips Pretzels TEXTURE Chips WOMEN Superfoods Popcorn Popcorn Quick Scan Men’s snacking conversations tune out health despite men’s interest in fitness and dads’ increased grocery shopping, while women calorie-count (even popcorn is a dieting strategy) —an opportunity for innovative communicators to shift both to a healthy middle-ground. Americans’ love of mini treats (such as Cake Pops) and restaurant-quality meals at home enter the snack fray. Attention to texture is part of the pleasure of eating. If we skimp on calories, especially, we need that crisp crunch that satisfies.NORTH AMERICA 5
  7. 7. fInDInGsTheme 1: Snacks and FamiliesFamilies are looking for simple andnutritious snacking options to takeon-the-go, and parenting media willmake product recommendationsto connect busy moms to healthysnack solutions. snack & family subgroups food Type area of Interest Ingredient Mentions Crackers Opt for whole grain crackers Combine with cheese and/or fruit Skim milk, low-fat yogurt, Dairy Low-fat options for kids low-fat cheese, low-fat smoothies Options that are both NuGo Free Bars, NAVITAS NATURALS Dairy-free dairy-free and gluten-free POWER SNACK, GoGo squeeZ Homemade options for kids that Trail mix, vegetables, fruit and Homemade are simple, affordable, healthy peanut butter, yogurt, baby carrots Hummus Healthy alternative for kids Serve with pita chips, dip Comfort snack that everyone loves; *Pretzels low in fat and cholesterol, healthier Party/game-day mix salty treat, on-the-go option Unconventional shapes that offer Cookies, crackers, chips, fruit shapes both fun and nutrition for children snacks, gummies Fruit, trail mix, low fat popcorn, students Healthy options for students on-the-go granola bars, beef jerky *Whole Grain Brown rice, quinoa, crackers, English muffins, Select healthy whole grain options alternatives popcorn, pita or tortilla chips, pretzels Brand MentionsNotes: A “*” symbol is placed next to subgroups that appear in multiple themes. Theme and subgroup summariesthroughout the report are citations pulled from publications and social media outlets during the snacking audit. • GoGo squeeZ • LOLIBARNORTH AMERICA 6
  8. 8. As an example of how to put these insightsinto practice, we recently advised a fresh produceorganization on ways to attract moms of youngchildren. One distinguishing feature of theproduct is that it’s high in vitamin E.Relevant FindingsLooking at the cross section of the keywords Snacks and Families,one of the major subgroups of articles is on Homemade, specificallyhome-prepared options for kids that are simple, affordable and healthy.Examples include trail mix, produce and peanut butter, yogurt and babycarrots. Little fingers love to dip small hand-held fruits into a sauce orwhole-grain pitas into a veggie dip.Looking at keywords Snacks and Healthy, the subgroup Superfoodsincludes coverage of healthy options that provide functional benefits forbeauty, health and nutrition. Examples include blueberries and soybeans.Turning to the Splurge subgroup, coverage talks about indulging withoutgaining weight by swapping out bad options for good ones, and positivechoices include foods that are high in “good fats” like cashews and almonds.Recommended Communications ActionsPutting this together, our messaging advice is to communicate that Momcan feel good about serving a healthy food to the whole family and knowthat the vitamin E is also great for her skin, important when exposed tothe summer sun.Regarding communications channels, social media is particularly importantfor reaching this segment. As we found in our proprietary study, Clicks andCravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture (conducted byThe Hartman Group in partnership with MSLGROUP North America), 59%of moms with kids under age 13 consult recipes and/or food preparation tipsonline, compared to 48% of women without children. And, 57% of momsuse social media to connect with close friends or family during mealtimeswhen they eat alone.NORTH AMERICA 7
  9. 9. fInDInGsTheme 2: Snacks and FlavorConsumers look for snacks withrich flavors and natural flavors ongrocery store shelves. The mediais making a connection betweentexture and flavor for the overallexperience of enjoying a snack. snack & flavor subgroups food Type area of Interest Ingredient Mentions Healthy options without Kashi, NATURE’S PATH, low sugar *bars losing flavor granola bars, CLIF BAR Nutritious and tasty snacks that fresh Fresh fruits provide natural flavor Sugar-free popsicles, sugar-free Jell-O, *low Calorie Healthy options that allow you to enjoy strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, DANNON sweets your favorite snacks in healthier ways Light & Fit, NABISCO 100 calorie packs *sweet Natural sweet substitutes Apples, oranges, grapes Brand MentionsNotes: A “*” symbol is placed next to subgroups that appear in multiple themes. Theme and subgroup summariesthroughout the report are citations pulled from publications and social media outlets during the snacking audit. • KIND Bars • popchips jalapeno potato chipsNORTH AMERICA 8
  10. 10. The use of fresh fruit as a flavor cue hasdifferent implications for our fresh and packagedfood clients. The snacking analysis led to thefollowing observations:Recommended Actions for Fresh Produce RepresentativesFor suppliers of fresh fruit to retailers and foodservice operators, this is a hugeopportunity to show how the fruit improves consumers’ perception of recipesor menu items while solving a nutrition challenge. For example, a home cookor restaurant chef could reduce sodium content with a squirt of fresh lemonjuice or marinade lean meat in a fruit glaze.We’ve identified the “Global Foods Mash-Up” in our flavor trends analysiswork, so don’t be afraid of fusion. For the mainstream U.S. audience, anexciting and intense burst of flavor is more important than slavish adherenceto culinary traditions. How might you pair Thai chile or Mexican chipotle withthe fresh fruit flavor cue, from chile-lime snack nuts to happy hour mojitos?Recommended Actions for CPG Brand ManagersMarketers of packaged foods can call out the real fruit included in theirproducts, as well as nuts, seeds or other ingredients that add pleasurable texture.Consumers still want the convenience of cereal bars and low-calorie snacks,but they don’t want cardboard. So, they look to fruit as a sign of healthy sweetness(without added sugars) and texture descriptors as proof that the packaged productwill have satisfying crunch.While processed foods’ marketers are certainly challenged by the vogue for simple,unprocessed food, it’s important to note that these fruit flavor cues applied to thefull gamut of food products, not just the “natural” end of the spectrum.NORTH AMERICA 9
  11. 11. fInDInGsTheme 3: Snacks and HealthyConsumers seek healthy optionsmade with high-quality, all-naturalingredients. Media are more likelyto champion winning ingredientshere than make brand mentions. snack & Healthy subgroups food Type area of Interest Ingredient Mentions Portion control snack packs, Crackers low-calorie options Snacking is good for you when Healthy options that taste good and Dieting you are trying to lose weight are satisfying Sugar-free popsicles, sugar-free Jell-O, *low Calorie Healthy options that allow you to enjoy strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, DANNON sweets your favorite snacks in healthier ways Light & Fit, NABISCO 100 calorie packs nutrition Easy-to-read front-of-package labeling Splurge without gaining weight CLIF BAR, popchips, cashews, almonds, splurge by swapping out bad options natural chips and popcorn, low fat health for good options bars, organic fruit, organic smoothies Healthy options that provide functional Blueberries, soybeans, NAVITAS NATURALS *superfoods benefits for beauty, health, nutrition POWER SNACK *sweet Naturally sweet substitutes Apples, oranges, grapes Value Better-for-you brands (specific to nutrition) *Weight loss Healthy low-calorie options *Whole Grain Brown rice, quinoa, crackers, English muffins, Select healthy whole grain options alternatives popcorn, pita or tortilla chips, pretzelsNotes: A “*” symbol is placed next to subgroups that appear in multiple themes. Theme and subgroup summariesthroughout the report are citations pulled from publications and social media outlets during the snacking audit. Brand Mentions • NoneNORTH AMERICA 10
  12. 12. Putting these insights to work in our DigitalKitchen, the Director of our Culinary and nutritionCenter develops product prototypes to show foodcompanies how our clients’ ingredients (in thiscase, nuts) seamlessly fit or extend product lines.Relevant FindingsHealthy snacking conversations are emphatically not about deprivation.Reporters and bloggers share tips on how to be healthy while you snackvs. how to give up snacking. There is a sense in the U.S. food culture thatit is inadvisable to go too many hours without a snack even while activelytrying to lose weight.Recommended ActionsThe nut supplier can help manufacturers envision shared success working withtheir ingredient by formulating healthy snack prototypes that tap superfoodsand whole-grain trends, while keeping portion sizes reasonable. Ideas includea dark chocolate truffle with blueberries and hazelnuts, or a baked hazelnutlavash bread to accompany healthy spreads.More Ideas on Communicating Healthy Snacking Messages… • We are integrating healthy snacking messages into work ranging from We Daisy Cottage Cheese to appetizers like meatballs and fruit-and-bread kebabs that deliver crucial whole grains via Roman Meal breads. In the case of Daisy, we targeted health professionals through pairings messaging (i.e., “Add Daisy cottage cheese to fruits and veggies you already recommend for a protein-rich snack”). • We’ve worked with a weight management brand to create a widget aimed at providing consumers healthier options to their snack cravings throughout the day.NORTH AMERICA 11
  13. 13. fInDInGsTheme 4: Snacks and MenMen want snacks that power themthrough the day and benefit theiroverall health, while media coveragebeyond energy bars revolves arounda traditional realm of pretzels andpub snacks. snack & Men subgroups food Type area of Interest Ingredient Mentions Kashi, NATURE’S PATH, *bars Healthy options without losing flavor low-sugar granola bars, CLIF BAR Low in fat and cholesterol, healthier salty treat, *Pretzels Comfort snack that everyone loves on-the-go option, simple party/game day mix Protein-heavy mini meals Chicken sandwiches and wraps, sliders Pub snacks and snacks or mini burgers, chicken wings Brand MentionsNotes: A “*” symbol is placed next to subgroups that appear in multiple themes. Theme and subgroup summariesthroughout the report are citations pulled from publications and social media outlets during the snacking audit. • NoneNORTH AMERICA 12
  14. 14. Innovative brand managers can positionmen’s snacking beyond the two bookendsof energy bars and pretzels. Here are a fewquick tips.Relevant Finding: Overemphasis on Grab-and-GoMen’s snacking coverage focuses on grab-and-go products. This isn’t the spacein which many editors plus up snacks with homemade elements – at least, not yet.Recommended ActionPerhaps athletes making workout smoothies would appreciate guy-orientedideas for home snacking too.Relevant Finding: Make it MeatyMeat figures into healthy snacking in the men’s space, since health is short-handhere for enhanced performance. Chicken, lean beef and other meats signala protein-powered snack that benefits the body more than crunching a fewchips – it’s more like the energy boost of a mini meal.Recommended ActionA tortilla brand could garner men’s attention by posting a meal suggestionfor easy chicken wraps for the 4pm lag on Facebook and Twitter.Relevant Finding: Happy HourHappy Hour is prime-time for snacking.Recommended ActionInsert beer and spirits in snacking messages for men, too.Relevant Finding: Speak to DadsBear in mind that men increasingly don’t just shop and prepare snacksfor themselves. More than 60% of Millennial dads in our Clicks and Cravingsstudy report that they do the majority of their household’s grocery shopping,and over half say they prepare most of the kids’ food.Recommended ActionInnovators can build a snacking conversation aimed at dads (under age 35)in the kitchen.NORTH AMERICA 13
  15. 15. fInDInGsTheme 5: Snacks and MinisConsumers are looking for smallsnacks, which are seen as indulgentbut affordable and able to assistwith portion control. Brand Mentions • Baskin-Robbins Cake Bites • Burger King Minis • Dairy Queen Mini Blizzard • Jimmy D’s Breakfast Minis Turkey Sausage on a Mini Croissant • Pillsbury Sweet Moments • Starbucks PetitesNORTH AMERICA 14
  16. 16. It makes perfect sense that our frozen foodclient is launching international snacks ashealthful minis, from Mediterranean pitabites to asian spring rolls. Here’s why:Relevant Finding: WhimsyThe intersection of snacks and Minis sees the most branded placementsoverall. This is a category where editors and bloggers actively make productrecommendations for portion size and bite-size snacking.Recommended ActionMessaging should reflect that minis are casual and whimsical, and sharingis part of the fun.Relevant Finding: Portion ControlThe calorie-limiting health benefit of minis is probably obvious to most marketers,as minis represent a better-for-you option than their full-sized counterpart.Recommended ActionAs consumers reconcile their “graze the day” lifestyle with the fact thatcalories do add up, show them that minis provide a sense of portion controlthat’s right-sized to sedentary lifestyles of office workers.Relevant Finding: Global AdventureAs consumers branch out into international flavors from Japanese to Peruvianto Korean, minis couch the new experience in a bite-sized package that’s notintimidating. As an entry point into the Global Foods Mash-Up, minis don’tcost as much as committing to a whole entrée.Recommended ActionMarketers can play up the sense of adventure minis allow. Kimchi meatballsliders offer a great introduction to a new world of flavor in just a few dollarsand two bites.NORTH AMERICA 15
  17. 17. fInDInGsTheme 6: Snacks and RestaurantsRestaurants are adding more localand handmade menu options, bothon-premise artisan snacks and atretail through licensing agreements(often, minis). snack & restaurant subgroups food Type area of Interest Ingredient Mentions High-quality, limited-production, Spirits, ice cream, locally-sourced meat artisan foods locally-produced and handmade or and seafood, locally-grown produce, upscale foods at a reasonable price locally-produced wine and beer Portion-controlled snacks that Burger King Minis, Starbucks Petites, *Minis are indulgent and affordable Baskin-Robbins Cake Bites, Dairy Queen Mini Blizzard Brand MentionsNotes: A “*” symbol is placed next to subgroups that appear in multiple themes. Theme and subgroup summariesthroughout the report are citations pulled from publications and social media outlets during the snacking audit. • NoneNORTH AMERICA 16
  18. 18. snack product development isn’t justgood business sense for CPGs. Here’s whatwe’re advising clients operating in thefoodservice arena:Relevant FindingsFood Product Design magazine reports on a Technomic study showing thatrestaurants now claim 22% of consumers’ snacking occasions, up from 17%in 2010. The increase comes amidst a perfect storm of consumers reducingthe size of their plate to reduce the size of their bill, decreasing portion sizein the wake of posted calorie counts and filling the gap at happy hour nowthat dinner comes at later, unfixed times.The article also notes that 62% of consumers report that the snacksthey purchase away-from-home are impulse purchases. Is a trio of sliderssignificantly more snack-like than its full-sized burger cousin? If thegray line looks blurry between light dinners and snacks between meals,it’s about to get blurrier as 37% of consumers indicate they are broadeningtheir definition of snacks to include more types of foods, beverages andrestaurant fare.Clicks and Cravings data offers insights into when consumers are mostlikely to share restaurant experiences and food photos via social media.Consumers are more likely to share descriptions of restaurant visits (39%)vs. meals/snacks made at home (32%), and just under one-third (31%) willpost a photo of food enjoyed whether at home or in a restaurant. Artisanand locally-sourced restaurant snacks may be particularly ripe for socialmedia sharing.Recommended ActionsDon’t be shy in positioning a small plate as a snack. In fact, recognizingthat customers want mini portions of menu items as snacks or light meals,one of our restaurant clients added minis to their menu including optionssuch as Zucchini Cakes and Buffalo Chicken stating that “taste is mightierthan size.”As Millennials outspend Boomers, the key will be to afford consumersfrom the “I’ll have it my way” generation the ability to customize witha range of snack flavors and sizes (from a one-bite cake pop with coffeeto a late-night chipotle rib sandwich with a cocktail), and no need toconform to an established meal time.Encourage and reward loyal customers who share their commentsand post photos of their experience ordering snack items on your menu.NORTH AMERICA 17
  19. 19. fInDInGsTheme 7: Snacks and TextureConsumers crave a variety oftextures when choosing snacks.Their view of a snack’s texture(especially crunch) affects theirperception of its overall taste. snack & Texture subgroups food Type area of Interest Ingredient Mentions Healthy options Kashi, NATURE’S PATH, *bars without losing flavor low-sugar granola bars, CLIF BAR *Chips Low-calorie healthy options Baked chips *Popcorn Low-calorie, flavorful, healthy Sweet and salty varieties Comfort snack that everyone *Pretzels loves; low in fat and cholesterol, Party/game-day mix healthier salty treat, on-the-go option Brand Mentions • CrunchtablesNotes: A “*” symbol is placed next to subgroups that appear in multiple themes. Theme and subgroup summariesthroughout the report are citations pulled from publications and social media outlets during the snacking audit. • Turbana Plantain Chips • YoCrunch Parfaits and YogurtsNORTH AMERICA 18
  20. 20. The crisp break of a breadstick, the airy puffof a popover and, most of all, the crunch of justabout everything from spring rolls to kettlecorn tomini tacos – if you’ve got texture, let consumers know.Recommendation for Business-to-Consumer CommunicationsCraft communications with the textural details that prove to consumersa product’s going to be as pleasurable as advertised, especially when you’vepromised that something healthy is going to taste good too. As a nation,we’ve taken snap, crackle, pop to heart.Recommendation for Business-to-Business CommunicationsB2B communicators also benefit from leading with texture when promotingthe functionality of their ingredients to food manufacturers. For example,new snack starches provide a crispy coating to extruded snacks and help fruits,seeds and seasonings adhere to baked goods, all without artificial additives.For the nation’s soybean growers, a major client of MSLGROUP North America,we led the food industry launch of new soybean oils with excellent healthattributes from zero grams of trans fat to reduced saturated fat. But, werecognized that those nutrition facts only matter if the purchaser in foodmanufacturing winds up with end-products that appeal to consumers.So, we showcase the stellar length of time that the oil holds up in thecommercial fryer and the crisp, crunchy snack foods it delivers with nooff-flavors or aromas.NORTH AMERICA 19
  21. 21. fInDInGsTheme 8: Snacks and WomenWomen are interested in snacksthat will help them lose weightand imbue them with beauty, healthand nutrition. Not surprisingly, manysnacks marketed to women implementportion control to help women balancecalorie intake and snacking habits.One area of respite for women fromcalorie counts is the Superfood arena. snack & Women subgroups food Type area of Interest Ingredient Mentions Portion-control snack packs, *Calories low-calorie options *Chips Low-calorie healthy options Baked chips Portion-control snack packs, *Cookies low-calorie options *Popcorn Low-calorie, flavorful, healthy Sweet and salty options Healthy options that provide functional Blueberries, soybeans, *superfoods benefits for beauty, health and nutrition NAVITAS NATURALS POWER SNACK *Weight loss Healthy low-calorie options Brand MentionsNotes: A “*” symbol is placed next to subgroups that appear in multiple themes. Theme and subgroup summariesthroughout the report are citations pulled from publications and social media outlets during the snacking audit. • NABISCO SnackWell’s • NONNI’s Biscotti BitesNORTH AMERICA 20
  22. 22. love the snack, hate the calories. Women’scomplicated relationship with food comesto a fore in snacking, but food communicatorsshould know that superfoods offer a respite.Relevant FindingsWhile the obesity crisis requires attention be paid to calorie reductionand increased fitness, the Diet Police are particularly prominent in women’smedia. Low-calorie, portion-controlled snacks are advised prescriptively.It makes sense since snacking represents discretionary calories rather thanbasic needs. (Secondarily, snack remedies get ink for fighting women’shealth/beauty issues such as preventing wrinkles and other signs of aging.)Recommended ActionsMarketers of portion-controlled snacks would be remiss if they did not pitchwomen’s media and bloggers on calorie count, but this is competitive spaceand they may find other aspects of their product have a unique story to tell.Soy, pumpkin, kiwifruit, berries, salmon, nuts: If your product containsa superfood, tell women about it. Our kiwifruit client realized success toutingnutrient density for Mom herself – making every bite count, with a fruit loadedin vitamins C and E, potassium and fiber – while assuring her that finicky kidswould enjoy the healthy, portable snack too.As we’ve seen in other categories where superfoods pop up, calories decreasein importance when superfoods enter the conversation, since the focus is onadding the good vs. cutting out the bad. This is an opportunity for marketersto align their brand with a positive way for women to treat themselves.NORTH AMERICA 21
  23. 23. aPPenDIXAbout MSLGROUP North AmericaThe Food and Beverage Specialty at MSLGROUP North Americaoptimizes deep food, nutrition and beverage expertise with clientsacross the agency network. The unit is directed by Steve Bryant andis supported by agency veteran Caryn Carmer, who provides operationalsupport and leads business based there.With a client roster that includes Nestlé, Bloomin’ Brands, Coca-Cola,Sunkist Growers, United Soybean Board and Heineken and resourcesthat include a full culinary facility, specialized research programs, on-staffregistered dietitians and industry experts, MSLGROUP North Americais a category leader with an eight-figure book of business. Together,the business is driven by nearly 100 people.The specialty spans the entire food and beverage category from foodmarketing to communications for food commodities, packaged foods,foodservice, restaurant, healthcare, nutrition and pet foods. The agencyoffers services to support all the key category consumption drivers fromtaste to nutrition, design, culture, recommendation and reputation. for More Information: Steve Bryant Director, Food & Beverage, MSLGROUP North America (206) 270-4664 steve.bryant@mslgroup.comNORTH AMERICA 22
  24. 24. Research MethodologiesMSLGROUP North America Food and Beverage Specialty Unit conductedthe research using trade and consumer publications as well as blogs toidentify snacking conversations in the United States. Publication timingranged from January 2011 – January 2012. Identified Analyzed Print Eight Main Subgroups, Publications Themes Emerged using Sysomos Steps Taken 1. Analyzed snacking discussions in consumer and food industry trade publications 2. Determined the most popular topics taking place within snacking 3. Conducted an in-depth media analysis, using Sysomos, to verify popular snacking topics; Sysomos is a web-based platform providing real-time social media monitoring and analytics 4. Identified eight main themes within snacking discussions, and summarized each theme 5. Shared specific brand mentions for each theme 6. Placed subgroups under the eight main themes based on keyword commonalities; subgroups were connected, as needed, with multiple main themes if keyword results were applicable to various themes (noted with a *) 7. Provided descriptions for subgroups 8. Shared product, ingredient and benefit examples for each subgroupNORTH AMERICA 24