Depending on which expert you consult, people are snacking five, six or even seven times a day, and food manufacturers are rolling out new, on-the-go products, especially targeting those young generation, mini-meal-lennials leading the charge. But is the movement really new or has it just become the media trend du jour?
During SNAXPO, held by the Snack Food Association in Orlando, Fla., this spring, Scott Green, vice-president of sales and marketing for Bluffton, Ind.-based Pretzels, Inc., pointed out that the mini-meal occasion has been around for decades. In fact, Mr. Green placed Oscar Mayer Lunchables at the forefront when they debuted in the 1980s.
“They came out with crackers, cheese and meat in a small package,” he said. “Nobody called it snacking back then. Rather, it was a replacement for lunch.”Although consumers today may not view Lunchables as healthy a choice as quinoa, kale and hormone-free goat cheese on a G.M.O.-free, gluten-free roll, the product line served its purpose: to help working parents provide a quick lunch for their children to take to school. And Lunchables are still on store shelves today, proving that meal replacements are here to stay, but now we call them snacks.