Snacking in Today’s Marketplace

Snack Food Category in Canada

By 2021, the snack food category in Canada will be worth more than $4 billion dollars [1]. With an average growth rate of 6% over the last five years [2], it’s safe to say that snacking is still a prevalent part of both the grocery industry and our day-to-day lives.

The average number of snacks consumed each day hovers around 2.5 [3] and with 8% of us foregoing large meals altogether in exchange for all-day snacking [4], the need for nourishing and satiating snacks is at an all-time high. That is not to say that health & wellness snacks are king of the category though; confections and indulgent treats still represent close to 50% of all purchases in the snacking category [5].

Given this 50/50 split between better-for-you snacks and indulgencies, Canadians are having to adapt their approach when it comes to snacking. Many consumers are now planning their indulgencies in advance and becoming mindful of what exactly we are putting into our bodies [6]. This middle ground approach to snacking enables shoppers to experience the best of both worlds. That is, they are not guilty about indulging from time to time nor do they feel as though they are missing their healthier snack options when they don’t have them [7].

Snack Choice

When it comes to choosing snacks, consumers are creatures of habit. We all have our favourites and swaying our mind is sometimes difficult. So much so, that flavour still reigns king when deciding on our snack choice [8]. Finding that happy medium between a snack that tastes good and one that is healthy for you is going to be key in brand innovation moving forward. With some 50% of consumers willing to pay more for snacks that are healthier [9], future growth in the category appears to be up for grabs.

Snack Categories Consumed During the Day

State of the Snack Food Industry

Snack Consumption by Type

State of the Snack Food Industry Pie 2


Written by Mike Cunningham, Team Lead Marketing Insights at Tree of Life Canada


1. Mintel, Snack Food – US, Canada – Market Sizes, August 2018.
2. Ibid.
3. IRI, State of the Snack Food Industry, March 2018.
4. Hartman Group, The Future of Snacking, July 2016.
5. IRI, State of the Snack Food Industry, March 2018.
6. Perrotta, Kathy, Canadian Grocer, June 2018, “The Evolution of Snacking.”
7. Ibid.
8. Mintel, Better for You Snacking, October 2018.
9. IRI, State of the Snack Food Industry, March 2018.

First image: IRI, State of the Snack Food Industry, March 28, 2018.
Second image: IRI, State of the Snack Food Industry, TSV_52 Weeks Ending 12/31/17, March 28, 2018.

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