College Students Are Snackers—Here’s the “What, When and Why” Retailers Need to Know

A recent study by Y-Pulse surveyed 1,314 consumers, including 177 full-time college students, about their snacking behaviors.  The survey found that college students snack more than any of the other demographics included in the survey.  That’s not really a surprise – those educated minds need fuel to continue learning!  But there were a few surprises they did find.  Here are some of the key take-aways for retailers:

girl showing text bubble with junk food icons

College Student Snack Times Vary

Most full-time students reported they snack about twice per day with many choosing late afternoon as their favorite time for a quick energy boost.  But unlike most other respondents in the survey, college students aren’t afraid to stray!  Many will snack at several different times throughout the day.  Roughly 10% of the students surveyed report they snack up to five times throughout the day.  As a retailer, you need to have a wide selection of options available at all times.

Snacking is on the Rise in the College Ranks

43% of students surveyed reported that their snacking frequency has increased over the last year, 39% reported it has remained the same and only 19% reported a decrease in their snacking.

College Students Live – and Snack – in the Fast Lane

Students are juggling studies, sports, activities, clubs, projects, and of course a frat party or two.  So when it comes to eating, more are turning to quick service.  36% of full-time students reported they are snacking at fast and quick restaurants/stores more than they used to.  The study went on to find that when buying snacks for immediate consumption, convenience stores are the purchase point of choice followed by quick-serve restaurants.  Students also reported that convenience and location were highly important to them – they want their choices close, fast and easy.

Don’t Close Your Store Too Soon!

It turns out that college students are willing—and expect—to pay more for snacks later in the day!  Students reported they expect to pay $1-$3 for a morning snack, but they would pay $1-$5 for an afternoon and evening snack.  Are you staying open long enough to feed those late day cravings?

Healthy, Hearty, Salty, Cheesy, Sweet

The time of day has a big impact on snack choices.  Respondents noted that yogurt and fruit were favorites in the morning, mini sandwiches and wraps in the early afternoon, chips and salty snacks after lunch followed by cheese in late afternoon, baked goods after dinner and fruit as a late-night snack.  Take a look at your selection during the day and see if this matches, if not, maybe consider shifting your offerings.

Improve Your Snack Offerings and Your Bottom-Line

At Mister Snacks, we continually look for new snacks, ingredients and lines to help our customers build a strong product offering with very high-margins.  Whether looking to add to your existing snack lines, or interested in ways to increase per transaction profits, we can help.  From healthy fruits and nuts, to sweet and savory, to salty, we offer a snack for every taste—and time of day!  Contact us today to learn more!