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Snooping on the snackers

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Cadbury's chocolates in a bowlThe run up to Christmas and new year is a hectic time for many adults and sometimes they end up grabbing something quick and easy to eat more often than they otherwise might. Latest data from Kantar Media’s TGI study reveals that 81% of the adult population in the Republic of Ireland eat snacks, whilst 28% of adults (over a million people) snack more than once a day. Of these, 10% spend €15 or more each week on snacks. By comparison, 36% of adults in Northern Ireland snack more than once a day, as do 24% in Great Britain.

The most common reason why these heavy snackers snack is simply from a feeling of hunger – this applies to almost two-thirds of them. However, 40% of them snack because they are bored, 29% do so to treat or reward themselves, 28% are seeking an energy boost and 20% are looking to reduce their stress.

Snacks can of course be bought at all sorts of places, but almost three-quarters of heavy snackers buy their snacks at the supermarket, with 42% buying them at convenience stores and 25% at petrol stations.

Different types of food are snacked on at different times of day. In the morning, fruit is the most popular food item snacked on, enjoyed by 33% of heavy snackers, followed by cereal bars, by 17%. In the evening, however, chocolate is most popular, enjoyed by 40%, followed by cakes and biscuits (29%).

Frequent snacking is very much a young person’s phenomenon. TGI data reveals that 15-24 year olds are 70% more likely than the average adult to be a heavy snacker, whilst those aged 65+ are 45% less likely.

The key differentiating attitudes of heavy snackers tend to reflect their younger age. A fun-loving, carefree approach to life is apparent. For example, they are 36% more likely than the average adult to agree that the point of drinking is to get drunk and 30% more likely to tend to spend money without thinking.

Their attitudes also reveal much of how they are poised to be fruitfully engaged through relevant marketing initiatives. They are 27% more likely to agree that they are tempted to buy products that they’ve seen advertised, 31% more likely to feel they must check social networking sites every day and 29% more likely to like to treat themselves to foods that are not good for them.

The heavy snacker is also 38% more likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of internet users and a quarter more likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of consumers of outdoor media.

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