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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Consumer Snacking Trends market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Convey social attributes to premiumise
  • Communicate product details to encourage purchase
  • Add healthy ingredients to conquer families with children

Covered in this report

This report looks at consumers’ snacking habits, defined as eating between meals, including but not limited to: salty snacks, biscuit/cookies, chocolate and sugar confectionery, meat snacks, as well as types of foods that are not conventional snack products but have been adopted by consumers as snack options, eg yogurt and fruits or vegetables.


The report will look at consumers’ consumption frequency and occasions of major snack categories, consumers’ purposes for snacking, consumers’ definition of all-natural snacks, and other attitudes towards snack choices.


In this year’s report, “snack bar” refers to Western-style snack bars. Certain Chinese traditional snack bars (mostly made with cereal or puffed cereal) which come in similar forms to Westernstyle snack bars are not included in the snack bar segment. Due to its relatively small market size, the snack bar segment is included in the “Others” market size.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Roolee Lu, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

As the purposes for snacking diversify, brands should seize the opportunity to better serve consumers’ special and fragmented demand. Higher requirements towards nutrition from snacks among consumers with kids demonstrate opportunities to use nutritious ingredients in snacks designed for children. The rise of social snacking also suggests snack brands can utilise social functions to upgrade products Roolee Lu
Food & Drink Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Spending on snacking maintains continuous growth
                • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail sales of major snack categories, China 2014-24
              • Conservative growth in conventional snacking categories
                • Figure 2: Retail sales value of major snack categories, China, 2014-19
              • Companies and brands
                • Use healthy and category-blurring products to expand consumer base
                  • Provide products positioned at special occasions
                    • Fortify nutrition and focus on texture innovation
                      • The consumer
                        • Nuts and seeds become an essential part of daily diet
                          • Figure 3: Consumption frequency, China, November 2019
                        • Diverse consumption purposes among different consumer groups
                          • Figure 4: Purpose of consumption, China, November 2019
                        • Most indulgence occurs in the afternoon
                          • Figure 5: Snacking occasions, China, November 2019
                        • Tolerant attitude towards snacking among parents
                          • Figure 6: Attitudes towards snacking, China, November 2019
                        • All-natural is most associated with originality
                          • Figure 7: Definition of all-natural, China, November 2019
                        • Add nutritious ingredients in snacks designed for children
                          • Figure 8: Evaluation of healthiness, China, November 2019
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Add healthy ingredients to conquer families with children
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Figure 9: Product examples of snacks with added nutrients, Japan and South Korea, 2019
                              • Convey social attributes to premiumise
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Figure 10: Bestore snack package
                                  • Communicate product details to encourage purchase
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                        • Figure 11: Product examples of snacks with detailed nutrient information on packaging, USA, Netherlands and Canada, 2019
                                        • Figure 12: Li Ziqi rice cake
                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                      • Spending on snacking continuously grows
                                        • Diverse purchase channels facilitate the availability of snacks
                                          • Snack nuts and small cakes & pies lead in growth
                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                            • Stable growth in snack spending continues
                                              • Figure 13: Retail sales of major snack categories, China, 2014-19
                                            • Further growth expected in the next five years
                                              • Figure 14: Best- and worst-case forecast of retail sales of major snack categories, China 2014-24
                                          • Market Drivers

                                            • Diverse purchase channels facilitate availability to consumers
                                              • Changing demographic structure brings new consumption force
                                                • Continuously expanding scope of snacks
                                                  • Figure 15: Bestore red bean pearl barley & gorgon fruit cake
                                              • Market Segmentation

                                                • Snack nuts and small cakes & pies lead in value growth
                                                  • Figure 16: Snack segments, China, 2019
                                                • Weak growth in conventional snacking categories
                                                  • Figure 17: Retail sales value of major snack categories, China, 2014-19
                                              • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                • International brands are expanding their product options
                                                  • Bestore and Be & Cheery are adopting differentiation strategies
                                                    • Chacheer and Dali are focusing on freshness
                                                      • Three Squirrels is building alliance factories
                                                      • Competitive Strategies

                                                        • Advances towards sugar reduction
                                                          • Figure 18: Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% less sugar chocolate
                                                        • Breaking the barriers between categories
                                                          • Figure 19: Oreo Daily Nuts
                                                          • Figure 20: Lay’s Choco Ridged potato crisps
                                                        • Tap into special consumption occasions
                                                          • Figure 21: Today Energy protein nuts bar
                                                          • Figure 22: Product examples of energising nuts and seeds from Superb, China, 2019
                                                        • Collaborate with cultural IP
                                                          • Figure 23: Be & Cheery x Nation’s Greatest Treasures gift box
                                                        • Establish traceability systems
                                                          • Figure 24: Lyfen’s food safety traceability platform
                                                      • Who’s Innovating?

                                                        • Innovation trends overview
                                                          • Active new product launches in sweet and plant-based snacks
                                                            • Figure 25: New products launched in China, by category, 2017-19
                                                            • Figure 26: New snack products launched in China, by sub-category, 2017-19
                                                          • Growth in fortified nutrition claims
                                                            • Figure 27: Growing claims on the new products launched in China, by category, 2017-19
                                                          • Classic flavours from foodservice
                                                            • Figure 28: Pretz x Honeymoon Dessert crossover
                                                            • Figure 29: Product examples of snack crossovers with foodservice brands, Japan and Taiwan, China, 2019
                                                          • Innovative and rich textures
                                                            • Figure 30: Lay’s sparkling potato crisps
                                                            • Figure 31: Weigang Dairy Qing Qi yogurt product
                                                          • Functional snacks
                                                            • Figure 32: Product examples of functional sugar and chocolate confectionery, China, 2019
                                                            • Figure 33: Product examples of functional sugar and chocolate confectionery, Japan, 2019
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Children’s demand drives the consumption of the family
                                                            • Snacking meets the demand for socialising
                                                              • Consumers are seeking some indulgence in the afternoon
                                                                • Communicate product detail to convey all-natural message
                                                                • Consumption Frequency

                                                                  • Daily nuts need to capture young males
                                                                    • Figure 34: Consumption frequency, China, November 2019
                                                                    • Figure 35: Consumption frequency – Once a day or more, by age and gender, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Less healthy categories are less consumed by consumers aged 40-49
                                                                    • Figure 36: Consumption frequency – At least several times a week, by age, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Consumers with kids have high consumption frequency
                                                                    • Figure 37: Consumption frequency – At least several times a week, by family structure, China, November 2019
                                                                • Purpose of Consumption

                                                                  • Indulgence is still the main purpose for snacking
                                                                    • Figure 38: Purpose of consumption, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Consumers with kids snack for additional nutrition
                                                                    • Figure 39: Purpose of consumption – To get additional nutrition, by family structure, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Socialising is an important purpose for females and high earners
                                                                    • Figure 40: Purpose of consumption, by monthly personal income, China, November 2019
                                                                    • Figure 41: Consumption frequency – At least several times a week, by selected purpose of consumption, China, November 2019
                                                                • Snacking Occasions

                                                                  • Sweet baked goods and dairy-based snacks for morning
                                                                    • Figure 42: Snacking occasions, China, November 2019
                                                                    • Figure 43: Snacking occasions, by gender, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Frozen snacks as after lunch desserts
                                                                    • Figure 44: Snacking occasions, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Afternoon is ideal time for indulgence
                                                                    • Figure 45: Snacking occasions, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Night can be tapped as potential occasion for functional snacks
                                                                    • Figure 46: Snacking occasions – After 8pm, by gender, China, November 2019
                                                                • Attitudes towards Snacking

                                                                  • Snacking is a popular way to let off steam
                                                                    • Figure 47: Attitudes towards snacking, China, November 2019
                                                                    • Figure 48: Be&Cheery’s healing snack sets
                                                                  • Consumers have lower level of concern about salt in snacks than sugar
                                                                    • Figure 49: Attitudes towards snacking – Snacking would make me eat too much sugar, by age and gender, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Partly rather than fully replacing meals
                                                                    • Figure 50: Attitudes towards snacking – Snacking can help control intake of main meals, by personal monthly income, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Parents tolerate snacking
                                                                    • Figure 51: Attitudes towards snacking, China, November 2019
                                                                • Definition of All-natural

                                                                  • All-natural is about originality
                                                                    • Figure 52: Definition of all-natural, China, November 2019
                                                                  • No additives or preservatives is more related to all-natural among consumers aged 40-49
                                                                    • Figure 53: Definition of all-natural, by age, China, November 2019
                                                                • Evaluation of Healthiness

                                                                  • Fat is an important factor in evaluating healthiness
                                                                    • Figure 54: Evaluation of healthiness, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Healthy ingredients can offset the presence of unhealthy content
                                                                    • Figure 55: Evaluation of healthiness, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Dark chocolates enjoy healthy image among females
                                                                    • Figure 56: Evaluation of healthiness, by gender, China, November 2019
                                                                  • High earners are more generous towards the healthiness of snacks
                                                                    • Figure 57: Evaluation of healthiness, by selected monthly personal income, China, November 2019
                                                                • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                  • Snack more often for more diverse purposes
                                                                    • Figure 58: Consumption frequency – At least several times a week, by consumer classification, China, November 2019
                                                                    • Figure 59: Purpose of consumption, by consumer classification, China, November 2019
                                                                  • Social snacking is more common
                                                                    • Figure 60: Attitudes towards snacking, by consumer classification, China, November 2019
                                                                • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                    • Figure 61: Total market value of major snack categories, China, 2014-24
                                                                • Appendix – Market Segmentation

                                                                    • Figure 62: Retail sales value of major snack categories, China, 2014-19
                                                                • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                  • Methodology
                                                                    • Fan chart forecast
                                                                      • Abbreviations

                                                                      This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

                                                                      • Market

                                                                        Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

                                                                      • Consumer

                                                                        Mintel's proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

                                                                      • Brand/Company

                                                                        Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

                                                                      • Data

                                                                        Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

                                                                      Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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