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73F3A7AC-801A-41BC-86A8-24DFB75E9F47Is it time for a morning or afternoon snack? What little nosh would taste good right now, without blowing the day’s allotment for calories?

The Almond Board of California asked shoppers what favorite foods come to mind as a healthy snack; apples topped the list, followed by almonds, carrots, yogurt and granola. These same consumers listed “high in fiber,” “high in protein,” and “natural” as the most important qualities they look for when searching for healthy snacks.

But “taste of the food” is still the single most important consideration, even trumping “health” when making a snack choice. Consumers used words like “crave” (41%) and “exciting flavor” (39%) to describe what they are looking for in mid-meal eating. Thirty-seven percent said it’s most important that their snacks “combine good taste and good health.”

Here are some more interesting stats on snacks from the Almond Board of California consumer survey:

  • North Americans snack and average of 2.6 times a day, up from 1.8 times a day in 2008;
  • We snack ‘round the clock, but the three most popular times of day to snack are after dinner or late at night (24%), mid-afternoon (21%) and mid-morning (18%);
  • Fifty-eight percent of us follow the traditional three-meals-a-day plus two snacks eating pattern, while a full 24 percent say that they substitute at least one meal a day with a snack;
  • If we ever saw stigma in snacking, that is rapidly vanishing. Ninety-four percent of these shoppers agree that snacking can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, while only 27 percent say that they try to avoid snacking altogether;
  • Seventeen percent of these shoppers say they always plan for their snacking; 11% say they “never” plan snacks and eat throughout the day as the opportunity arises;
  • The nut most likely to be associated with snacking? Almonds, by 30% of shoppers. Twenty-four percent responded by saying peanuts, followed by 19% who responded by saying cashews.

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