Kellogg’s Marx Says Understanding Snacking Trends Is Key To Growth


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Washington DC — As the snacking category soars, it is more critical than ever to understand snacking behaviors, Kellogg Co.’s Stephanie Marx, senior director of cross category strategy, told attendees at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo. 

“Snacking is growing despite recessionary times, supply chain issues and a global pandemic,” Marx pointed out. “What once was an on-the-go occasion, now has evolved into an at-home convenience.”

Marx’s presentation, Leveraging Occasions to Turn Trends into Snacking Wins, focused on the moments and reasons behind snack purchases. 

She outlined how consumers spent $302 billion dollars on snacks in 2021, an increase of more than 16 percent since 2019. She attributed changing schedules at work and school to the dramatic increase.

She used frozen waffles as example of how snacking habits have evolved. Once not considered a daytime snack because of convenience, consumers working from home can now snack on waffles anytime.

And generationally, the differences can be seen in snacking habits. Many Gen Z consumers are no longer eating the traditional breakfasts of their parents and grandparents’ generations and snacking instead, Marx explained.

Additionally, she outlined recommendations resulting from two Kellogg consumer studies: Landmark and Path to Purchase.

Landmark Study Findings — Started in 2019, Landmark is an occasion-based study of snacking situations to understand “who, why where, when and what.” According to the study, there are 14 snacking occasions in one day, with the largest percentage during the after school and work hours. 

Furthermore, the study found that in families with young children, snack options are expanding, leading to a decline in cracker consumption. However, salty snacks are still a popular choice.

Marx stressed that consumers are turning towards lighter, airy snacks during the afternoon. Kellogg tapped into this trend with its recently launched Puff’d Cheez-Its, she noted. 

“We look through the lens, and it’s what’s driving the trend,” Marx told the audience.

Path To Purchase Insights — Kellogg’s second study, Path to Purchase, is a behavioral study that investigates list planning, store organization and category “buy for occasion.”

Marx told attendees the study helped discover whether consumers who make shopping lists stick to the list or make unplanned purchases.

“About 90 percent of people who make a list, stick to the list when purchasing online, but only 30 percent stick to the list in brick and mortar,” she noted, adding that it is important to figure out how to increase unplanned online purchases.

Through the study, Marx said the company also discovered that 31 percent of lists made are in the order of store layout.

“This tells you that these consumers might not like when you change your store layout,” Marx said.

The study also concluded that half of all unplanned purchases at the register are beverages, which creates an opportunity for snack pairing. “The recommendation is to establish points of interruption and bundling options,” she said.

Marx urged attendees to dedicate more space to snacks, increase variety to meet needs and motivators, engage ecommerce in-store, drive trial to aisle with innovation and packaging, and support sales with occasion-based offerings.