McVitie’s owner Pladis has revealed that social media and the boundary between meals and snacks is influencing the UK’s snacking habits.

Running for its second year, the manufacturer has compiled six consumer insights that are set to “fuel and fulfil a new breed of snackers”.

The insights, put together by Pladis’ senior director for consumer and market insights Colette Noé, include:

•             Pladis has seen increasing demand for products that are easy to buy, store, transport and that can be consumed ‘on the go’ or which are easily sharable;

•             Consumers are becoming more ‘mindful’ about what they eat. They often want portion control, but they won’t compromise on things like taste, quality or familiarity;

•             In some cases, consumers are looking for a more ‘sensory’ experience – as seen by the explosion in salted caramel flavoured snacks in 2017 or products with added protein;

•             Often, consumers choose a well-known brand, but a new format, a variation of an old favourite;

•             Baby Boomers are crucial to the success of a particular snacking category, so Pladis pays close attention to how it markets effectively to this demographic;

•             Younger consumers are snacking more than any previous generation, triggered largely by the erosion of traditional food rituals such as set meal times; Pladis has seen the emergence of the ‘fourth meal’.

Noé concluded that the options have never been greater for consumers.

“Whether it’s as a wholesome snack, an indulgent treat or a mood-enhancer, it’s interesting to see what will steer people to one particular snack over another,” Noé said. “We’ve put consumer insights at the heart of every new product in our pipeline to ensure there is something for everyone, for every occasion.”