Consumer snacking behaviour

Snack design
Snackification, the trend where snacking is becoming a new way of eating, is gaining in prominence for consumers and the snacking industry. Consumers are snacking more and more often, which has raised health concerns given the widespread presumption that snacking is linked to a deterioration of health. However, consumers’ perceptions and definitions of snacks and snacking, and snacking needs and desires have changed simultaneously, thereby offering opportunities for the development of more health-oriented snack innovations to the snacking industry.

Notwithstanding the prominence of the snackification trend, there are no science-based recommendations available which aid the industry or consumers in adequately responding to snacking and snackification. Furthermore, there is no consensus on the operationalizations of snacking and snacking-related concepts in current scientific literature. To obtain such recommendations and operationalizations, a more profound understanding of consumers' snacking behaviours and underlying motives is necessary.

The objective of my PhD research is to gain a more profound and comprehensive understanding of consumers’ snacking behaviours, by investigating consumers’ snacking perceptions, motivations, needs and desires, as well as the interaction of consumers with their context in snacking consumption situations. This will be done by reviewing current scientific snacking behaviour literature, and empirically identifying the snacking perceptions and motives of different consumer groups in different snacking consumption situations through a quantitative dietary diary survey and qualitative in-depth interviews.

Results will serve the creation of:
1) a widely applicable comprehensive conceptual model for future snacking-related research, which describes the elements that are important and recommended to consider when examining consumers’ snacking behaviours, and; 2) science-based snackification and snacking recommendations for consumers and the snacking industry, which are tailored to consumers’ snacking needs and desires.