Younger, on-the-go Millennials and Gen-Zers are snacking more and relying on convenience channels to buy all kinds of snacks when they’re hungry.

America increasingly is a snacking nation. In fact, Hartman Group research points to snacking as one of the most profound developments for American consumers’ eating and drinking behaviors. Snacking now makes up fully half of all eating occasions, and 92 percent of us snack sometime throughout the course of an average day.

While all generations seem to enjoy their snacking, nowhere is this more apparent than among Millennials. According to the Hartman Group, there is no shortage of competition for Millennials’ food dollars. What is most challenging about understanding this demographic group’s eating behaviors is that there is no such thing as a typical Millennial’s “day of eating.”

Hartman research finds that away-from-home snacking occasions are fertile ground to capture the vast snacking appetites of the Millennial generation. Millennials are snacking more often during the day when pleasure and experiential needs can override health and wellness concerns. Millennials, more than Boomers, snack in the afternoon (39 percent vs. 32 percent) and the late evening (44 percent vs. 36 percent).

Hartman describes how consumers increasingly eat around their schedules rather than scheduling around mealtimes. While dinner remains an important social meal occasion, breakfast and lunch occasions are routinely “snackified,” especially during the workweek. Consequently, when both Millennials (ages 19-37) and Gen Z (ages 15-18) look to buy snacks for immediate consumption, they tend toward the same channels of grocery stores and convenience stores.

These trends afford opportunities for marketers who can design eye-catching packaging that draws impulse buyers. Additionally, to serve these busy customers, the packaging might be designed with convenience features such as easy opening, reclosability, portability and one-handed use.


The Hartman Group is a leading food and beverage consultancy providing consumer research across all segments of the food and beverage industry. For more information, visit

Where Millennials Buy Their Snacks