Snacking is a focus of consumers who are trying to lose or maintain weight.


ROCKVILLE, MD. — The highest priority for consumers trying to lose weight is to reform their snacking habits, according to the market researcher Packaged Facts. Two in three consumers said they limit how much they eat when they snack and 62% set boundaries on how often they snack. The findings were published in the company’s “Weight management: U.S. consumer mindsets” report.

Packaged Facts noted the eating habits of consumers trying to lose weight or maintain their weight have changed during the past five years. For example, the percentage of consumers trying to lose weight and who eat several small meals a day, often snack between meals and focus on choosing healthy snack options has increased. The percentage of those consumers trying to maintain their weight and who eat several small meals and usually only snack on healthy foods has grown even faster.

By comparison, the idea of eating smaller or moderate portions at mealtimes does not rank high on the list of actions for dieters even though overeating at meals ranked fourth on the list of reasons why overweight adults believe they are overweight. Only 33% of consumers said they are taking the step to lose weight.

“Instead of controlling what they eat at mealtimes, today’s consumers focus on changing their snacking habits in order to achieve weight loss success, a strategy that reflects the increasing importance of snacking in America today,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Besides controlled snacking and the need to exercise, other weight loss actions consumers are focused on involve a range of food monitoring activities. These include checking food labels to avoid high-fat products, high-sugar products and high-sodium products as well as limiting the consumption of foods perceived as processed.