CHICAGO -- Contrary to conventional wisdom, the more consumers snack, the healthier their eating behaviors, according to a new report from NPD Group. The market research firm's latest snacking research found that consumers following the "healthiest diets" snack twice as often as those with "less healthy" eating habits.
People considered to have the healthiest diets eat 36% more snack meals a year than the average consumers, according to NPD's Snacking in America report.
This compares with those with "moderately healthy" diets, who reportedly eat 1% fewer snack meals than the average consumer, and those with the "least healthy" diets, who eat 29% fewer snack meals than the average consumer.
The report, which identifies and examines consumers who drive current and future snack consumption, also found those following a "most healthy" diet eat a wider variety of healthy snacks such as fruit, yogurt and bars.
"We are no longer as averse to snacking as we used to be. Instead, snacking may be viewed as one way to improve healthy eating habits," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "This way of thinking about snacking provides an opportunity for manufacturers to make health and wellness innovation part of their product development and marketing strategy."