CHICAGO — Forty-four per cent of healthy snackers said they eat healthfully most of the time, and 42% make it a point to snack on healthy foods, according to a new report from Mintel.

At the same time, 29% of healthy snackers said they use less-healthy options for an occasional treat.

“Eating healthy snacks can offer many benefits to consumers, such as increased energy and feeling fuller longer, so there is a big opportunity for the makers and marketers of snacks to leverage these connections to maximize health positioning,” said Molly Maier, senior wellness analyst at Mintel. “The number of snackers who only consume healthy treats is a relatively small one, but one that shouldn’t be ignored by snack-food manufacturers.”

The definition of “healthy” varies widely, but 86% of consumers believe fresh fruit is healthy snacking followed by 73% who said the same for raw vegetables and 71% who responded similarly for nuts and seeds. Yet 12% of people ranked ice cream as healthy, and 9% said cookies were healthy snacks.

Availability is key, as 46% of respondents said it’s hard to find a healthy snack in vending machines or other on-the-go locations, and 16% said it takes more time to prepare a healthy snack.