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On-the-go food & beverage: Post-pandemic update

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On-the-go food & beverage: Post-pandemic update

On-the-go food & beverage: Post-pandemic update

What are the latest trends in the on-the-go food & beverage space?

2 min.
Miriam Aniel

Miriam Aniel

Content & Research, Tastewise

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On-the-Go Eating in Drinking in a Post-Pandemic World

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns in 2020, most Americans found their lifestyles - social lives, work commutes, drives to school - abruptly placed on hold. Grabbing a granola bar for breakfast on the way to work switched to homemade breakfasts before a Zoom call, and the way people share food with others suddenly looked very different. Now, as people begin to emerge from their pandemic-era lifestyles and newly have places to go, ‘on-the-go’ takes on a new character. What do consumers expect from on-the-go food and beverage right now?

What does on-the-go food & beverage look like today?

Interest in on-the-go food and beverage has grown 11% in the past 2 years. The last year has seen the majority of that growth; a trend that was overall declining saw an unexpected boost during the early pandemic that has continued today. March ‘20, the start of the pandemic shutdowns, through March ‘21 saw a 24% increase in the category. Today’s interest in on-the-go foods outpaces interest in beverages by more than double.

on the go over time.png

What drives this interest in on-the-go food and beverage, and how can its pandemic performance guide our understanding of the category?

Breakfast and snack categories are neck and neck for most penetrated categories for on-the-go, but today’s snacks are more popular (growing) for on-the-go applications. Snacks and breakfasts both continue to be predominantly prepared at home for on-the-go applications.

most popular on the go occasions.png

Speaking of snacks...

What’s going on in the context of snacks, the primary form of on-the-go eating and drinking? Tasty, homemade and convenient are the most established consumer claims for snacks. Satisfying joins the list when considering the “popularity score” of claims -- consumers are 12x more likely to look for a satisfying snack than general food & beverage categories on average. Satisfying and gourmet are similarly penetrated in the category; consider gourmet ingredients that pack a satisfying punch when creating your next homemade snack recipe.

top claims for snacks.png

What’s important to consumers when eating a homemade snack?

Each of the highest penetrated motivations for homemade, on-the-go snacks are also growing in popularity year-over-year. Let’s look at the top 3 motivations from each category: vegan, protein, healthy. How do these motivations manifest when consumers are cooking and eating on-the-go snacks?

Within discussions of homemade on-the-go snacks:

  • 54% are about health benefits
  • 30% feature protein
  • 14% center on vegan ingredients

Vegan, protein, and healthy are the highest penetrated (ie. most common) claims for consumers when it comes to homemade, on-the-go snacks. Popular examples include savory and sweet options, with ingredients that specifically meet protein and vegan demands.

top claims for snacks.png

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