SNACK CULTURE represents the 'transient sphere' on steroids, catering to consumers’ insatiable craving for instant gratification. SNACK CULTURE thus embodies the phenomenon of products, services and experiences becoming more temporary and transient; products that are being deconstructed in easier to digest, easier to afford bits, making it possible to collect even more experiences, as often as possible, in an even shorter timeframe. The signs are everywhere, from ubiquitous commerce to fragmented (shattered?) media to fast fashion to temporary ownership to Netflix-style all-you-can-eat models. SNACK CULTURE, like PREMIUMIZATION, is not a 'new new ' trend, but definitely one that will continue to thrive next year. To get you going, here’s a list of fairly random SNACK CULTURE spottings that is sure to grow longer in the next 12 months:
Food & Beverage
Some numbers on actual food snacks from the New York Times:
- In just three years, sales of 100-calorie packs of crackers, chips, cookies and candy have passed the USD 200-million-a-year mark, and sales grew nearly 30 percent last year. According to analysts, the market for these pint-size packages could easily double because of their simple appeal: they help consumers eat less without having to count calories themselves. The growing popularity of these snack packs may also be another sign that some consumers have had their fill of supersized food.
- A report from the Hartman Group found that 29 percent of Americans believed that 100-calorie packages were worth the extra cost. For manufacturers, snack packs are about 20 percent more profitable than larger packages.
- Some snack makers think even 100 calories might be too much for some diet-conscious consumers. Hershey, for example, now sells 60-calorie chocolate bars. And Jell-O sells 60-calorie pudding packs.
Which then may explain the success of Chicago-based burger joint Minnies, which proves that bigger isn't always better. Featuring a wide selection of Lilliputian gourmet burgers and sandwiches—including traditional favorites such as grilled cheese and Reubens, alongside the more inventive Mykonos (roast chicken, tzatziki sauce and kalamata tapenade) and Thanksgiving Delight (roast turkey, cranberries and wild rice gravy)—Minnies applies nouvelle cuisine portions to casual dining.
Old-school SNACK CULTURE meets PREMIUMIZATION: in Europe, McDonald’s is replacing bolted-down, yellow-and-white plastic furniture with lime green designer chairs and dark leather upholstery. It is the restaurant chain’s biggest overhaul in more than 20 years and, with its franchisees, it has spent more than EUR 600 million (USD 890 million), remodeling 1,280 European restaurants in 2007.