Like most people today, my daily calendar is a puzzle. If I can somehow maneuver a workout, a bit of socializing and some relaxation into my day, I consider it a huge win. To accomplish that win, I start my day by reading The Skimm, an e-mail newsletter that gives me a quick, easily digestible hit of the day’s top news stories. I’ve recently begun attending fitness classes centered around high intensity interval training, which allows me to maximize calorie burn in a shorter amount of time. And when I’m making dinner plans, I begrudgingly admit that I often text friends or family with the purpose of saving time from a phone conversation.

That do-it-all mentality is one reason we increasingly turn to “snacking” – a concept which has evolved to encompass more than just the idea of munching on pretzel bites from Auntie Anne’s as you stroll through the mall. In today’s world, the snacks we seek are not just food.

Moreover, snacking is a way of life that’s now prevalent in the culture in which we live; people are opting more and more for bite-size products and services that let them save time and money, while also catering to their dwindling attention spans. A quintessential illustration of this trend is how consumers seem to prefer short-form “blips” of content such as news and tweets. Like many people, I want my information laid out clearly and simply, preferably in 140 characters or less or in bullet points. When we want to do it all, speed and simplicity often win over depth and complexity.

We’re truncating our news, our thoughts, and our communication, and now smart brands are seeing that they can achieve success by even truncating leisure activities to fit within any person’s time or budget constraints.  This concept can lead to opportunities for shorter, smaller, pared down versions of products, services and information. Nearly everything can be shrunk down or sped up to cater to a snack-hungry society. 

And now, on to the bullet point examples.

  • Quick Fit is a workout app that users can do in seven minutes.
  • Hasbro has introduced Monopoly Empire, a new kid’s version of the classic board game that can be completed within 30 minutes.
  • Australian airline Qantas now offers travelers specially curated books, called Stories for Every Journey, which are designed to last the exact length of their flight.
  • Siestario Mi Espacio, located in the heart of Santiago’s business center, lets guests indulge in aromatherapy sessions, massages—or a simple 30-minute nap.
  • The National Association of Theater Owners has announced a new set of guidelines hoping to ensure movie trailers are a maximum of two minutes.
  • The Associated Press is now requiring shorter articles, according to an article in the Washington Post. Stories should be kept, in most instances, between 300 and 500 words.
  • The BBC is testing an Instagram news presence by posting 10-second video clips.
  • One ad agency (DDB Oslo) is actually accepting students’ 10-second videos via Snapchat in place of reading through their resumes.

Looking forward, in food and drink, it’s most obvious that brands should continue striving to meet consumer demand for convenient snacking options. But on a deeper level, brands across all categories should be thinking ‘snack-sized’ too. The next time you take your pretzel bites to go, think of approaches that can allow people to dip in and dip out—making the most of their time, money, attention spans and willingness to commit to a purchase.

For more information about consumer trends and Mintel’s trends expertise, click here.

Stacy Glasgow is a consumer trends consultant at Mintel. She specializes in Inspire trends that will propel businesses forward and comes from a diverse background that includes CPG, agency, and marketing experience.

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