Chicago, IL, December 7, 2004 — Americans eat an average of 4.6 times a day, according to exclusive research from Mintel. Adults age 18 to 34 are significantly more likely than any other age group to snack three or more times per day in addition to their regular meals. Due to hectic lifestyles in all age groups, products that are designed for on-the-go consumption are growing in popularity for time-pressed consumers.

” Consumers pay for convenience, and this includes on-the-go convenience. Yet, higher cost-per-serving does not seem to inhibit sales growth providing the product meets a genuine need, ” comments David Lockwood, senior research analyst at Mintel. The on-the-go food and beverage market grew faster than spending on food at home during 1992 through 2002. Market factors, including lifestyles, food technology, packaging innovation, and new product introductions all point to continued growth that is considerably faster than the overall food and beverage market. Also, sales in retail channels that specialize in on-the-go products, such as convenience stores, have grown faster than sales at supermarkets. Within supermarkets, single-serve sales have grown faster than other product categories. However, despite this momentum, in 2004 there have only been a small number of products positioned for, and dedicated to, the on-the-go market. This represents an attractive opportunity for manufacturers. It is packaging that will drive the uptake of new on-the-go products, and the business of on-the-go packaging is still relatively young and undeveloped.

Another reason for the popularity of many on-the-go foods and drinks, despite the higher cost-per-serving, is that these products are frequently used in place of a considerably more expensive sit-down meal. In this comparison, on-the-go products represent a cost saving as well as a time saving factor. Similarly, to the extent that on-the-go products lead to consumption at home, consumers might justify the added cost because of reduced preparation/cleanup time or elimination of leftovers.

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