What the World Snacks On

The Nielson Global Snacking Survey polled 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries to identify which snacks around the world were the most popular and why.  Consumers responded that their top 3 snacks of choice are:


Click to view Take 5 now

  1. Fresh fruit
  2. Chocolate
  3. Yogurt

However their actual consumption patterns don’t match up. Can you match the region to their actual snack habits? Region options are: (A) North America, (B) Latin America, (C) Asia-Pacific, (D) Middle East/Africa and (E) Europe.Answer       

Region: Region: Region: Region: Region:
69% Chocolate

65% Fresh Fruit

57% Vegetables

55% Cookies/Biscuits

54% Bread/Sandwich

62% Fresh Fruit

61% Chocolate

58% Cheese

54% Yogurt

49% Vegetables

52% Fresh Fruit

51% Chocolate


43% Chips/Crisps

42% Cheese

66% Yogurt

64% Chocolate

64% Cheese

63% Ice Cream/Gelato

57% Fresh Fruit

63% Chips/Crisps

59% Chocolate

58% Cheese

56% Cookies/Biscuits

55% Fresh Fruit

C                                      E                                  D                                  B                                    A

  • Compare where fresh fruit falls in the top 5 for Europe vs. North America.
  • Who doesn’t snack on vegetables as a top 5?
  • Who is the only region whose top 5 snack of choice is chips and crisps?

Out of 20 health attributes, survey respondents rated all natural ingredients, no artificial colors, genetically modified organism (GMO) free and no artificial flavors as being their top choices. In other words, they want snacks that get back to basics. Consumers also reported wanting less sodium, sugar, fat and more fiber, protein and whole grains.  We’ve already begun to see many of these changes in breakfast cereals and bars with higher protein, reduced sugar options and candy manufacturers who use natural food colorings made from beet, carrot and spinach juice.

The Nielsen Company points out that today’s consumers expect snacks to serve multiple purposes. While the majority stills eat a snack to satisfy hunger between meals, many are using them as a meal alternative. Busy on-the-go lifestyles are demanding quick, portable and easy-to-eat alternatives. Unfortunately for our waist lines, snacks are also still used as a reward or the item we reach for when we are stressed. 91 percent of participants reported snacking once per day and 21 percent reported snacking 3-4 times per day, with women snacking more oftentimes than men.

Healthy Snacking Tips

  1. Plan ahead. Pack healthy snacks for work or school so that vending machines and checkout lanes don’t sabotage your healthy intentions.
  2. Limit it to 150 calories. Choose snacks that are under 150 calories such as Greek Yogurt, baby carrots, fresh fruit, a wedge of dark chocolate, String cheese, hummus and pretzels, 1 ½ ounces of nuts or popcorn. This means you’re pre portioning items that are packed in bulk.
  3. Be mindful. Absent minded snacking in front of the TV, reading or at the key board can rack up calories quickly.

Categories: Nutrition & Wellness

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