Mood is a choice driver for snacks on the go, St Pierre reports


With 96% of us eating between meals and 69% of us doing so daily, Carrs Foods has undertaken consumer research to find out more about people’s snacking habits and the drivers behind them. The results indicate that priorities change as we get older and that, whilst taste and value remain important, mood is a significant factor in what consumers treat themselves to.

Mood, it seems, is a big choice driver for an on the go snack, with consumers choosing different foods according to whether they are feeling happy, angry, tired, stressed, sad or grumpy.

The good news for the new St Pierre On the Go range is that happiness is the dominant emotion for people choosing bakery products. Amongst those who chose one of the six emotions, seventy-one per cent of people would select a croissant when happy, followed by a waffle (67%), brioche (60%), pain au chocolat (59%) and cake bar (44%)³.

At the other end of the scale, 1 in 5 living in households with two children would reach for a croissant when grumpy (20%) or tired (21%) and 17% would reach for this bakery treat when stressed³.

When asked what factors are important when choosing a food to eat on the go, the results indicate that, as we get older, we become more discerning about what we snack on. Taste was the number one factor for older consumers, versus teenagers and students who placed value for money as their main priority (54% and 55% respectively). In general, among all age groups, taste (48%) and value for money (48%) were the most important factors in choosing a snack, followed by not being messy (35%) and being filling (23). Healthy snacking featured quite low down the list, with only 21% across all age groups saying health was a feature they looked for when choosing a snack to eat on the go. This is supported by a Mintel report¹ which found that only 39% of snackers look for healthy options, possibly because the role of snacks is perceived as being to keep energy levels up.

This is further supported by the favourite snack for the afternoon being Cake Bars (62%), Caramel Waffles (46%) and Belgian Waffles (36%), with the Croissant (74%), Pain au Chocolat (51%) and Brioche (44%) being the favourite out of home breakfast choices².

Although YouGov researched shows that 44% of people who chose one of the six emotions would reach for a cake bar when happy, the product seems to be the food of choice for a range of emotions from being stressed (39%), tired (31%), sad (30%), grumpy (27) and angry (22%).

Consumers are buying snacks to eat on the go for all occasions from a wide range of outlets – from garden centres (3%) and newsagents (15%) – to garage forecourts (22%), coffee shops (31%), convenience stores (39%) and supermarkets (51%)².

Jeremy Gilboy, managing director of Carrs Foods, owners of the St Pierre brand: “As the food to go sector continues to go from strength to strength and the number of outlets consumers shop for snacks in, also increases, it’s clear that this sector offers all retailers some great opportunities. Our new research into food to go shopping habits gives a clear message to retailers that breadth, variety and convenience are all important factors to consider and they can maximise the trend by offering a range of snacks to meet the needs of all ages, occasions and moods! Not forgetting that with 35% of respondents saying that they don’t want messy to eat on the go foods, individually wrapped items, offer a clear advantage.”

Earlier this year, Carrs Foods launched a new range of seven individually wrapped food to go products within its St Pierre brand. The range includes Croissant, Pain au Chocolat, Brioche Swirl, Brioche Chocolate Chip Roll, Caramel Waffle, Caramel Cake Bar and Chocolate Cake Bar, which join the existing Belgian waffle products (Butter, Chocolate & Cinnamon).