Investigating What Drives Consumer Snack Decisions

Eating three square meals a day is a thing of the past for many Americans, and snacking has gone mainstream. Popcorn, in particular, is re-inventing itself in the ready-to-eat (RTE) snack category. With a new and improved image, it’s seen as a healthy, convenient on-the-go snack. According to a recent Rabobank report, sales have grown by 60% since 2012, hitting $750 million in revenue in 2014.

As popcorn continues to grow in popularity, Omega-9 Oils explored the category further to determine how they can help popcorn manufacturers, and other snack food manufacturers, develop superior products that meet consumer needs. Dow AgroSciences, the company that developed Omega-9 Oils, surveyed 1000 grocery shoppers between the ages of 18 and 68 to find out more about factors that drive snack purchasing decisions. Results showed:

  • 64% have purchased popcorn within the past 6 months
  • Popcorn is a popular salty snack, second only to potato chips
  • Taste was the main driving force in product selection, with 86% citing good taste/flavor as the most important attribute.
  • Consumers desire products that contain good fats and are free of bad fats
  • Half of consumers said they would be more likely to purchase a snack food product if it’s labeled “Made with Heart Healthy Omega-9 Canola oil”
  • Consumers respond more positively to front-of package messages about oils, compared to other messages
  • The type of popcorn wasn’t a factor, as respondents indicated that healthy oil is expected to increase the nutrition of both RTE and microwave popcorn

Consumer demand, along with the FDA’s recent determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are no longer “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for human consumption, demonstrate the need for food manufacturers to eliminate trans fat and reduce saturated fat.

Omega-9 Oils currently supports the snack food industry with naturally-stable oils to create better-for-you snacks. Omega-9 Canola Oil has zero trans fat and the lowest level of saturated fat of any oil on the market. High in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, this oil provides needed shelf life minus the use of additives and without compromising taste, quality or performance.

For more information about Omega-9 Oils or how we can help your business make a healthier product, please contact us.