The Oracle Data Cloud blog highlights the latest data-driven insights and trends in digital marketing and ad tech.

Hungry for insights: What the data says about snack buyers in the US

Kori Wallace
Content Manager

Who doesn’t love snacks? Perhaps a handful of consumers do not, but universally, snacking is one of our modern era’s most beloved habits. In fact, global snack food revenues continually outpace all other food and beverage categories, according to a Citibank report (see page 95).

The data also reflects a great opportunity for reaching hungry buyers online. A recent analysis by eMarketer shows that snacks are the category consumers purchased most when buying food digitally.

Taking these market trends into account, Oracle Data Cloud analyzed buyers across the snacking category using 2 years of historical loyalty card purchase data. The results highlight a few crucial trends that signal which types of digital strategies will not only effectively drive conversions but also save budgets.

Here are 3 insights on snack buyers, and key takeaways for applying this information to your digital campaign strategy:


Insight #1: Dieting is cyclical, while general healthfulness is maintained in the long term.

This is interesting, as CPG advertisers commonly align campaigns for health-related products with fad diets. While specific dieting trends like Paleo, keto, and Atkins continue to make headlines and grow in popularity, diets are cyclical and can be difficult to maintain. Therefore, there is a significant amount of churn, which makes a purchase-based audience (an audience based on previous purchase data) difficult to keep relevant.

However, there is significantly less turnover with audiences who are interested generally in cooking as well audiences who show heavy interested in health and wellness. This means focusing your audience targeting efforts on general lifestyle choices versus dieting patterns proves to be a more accurate strategy. In addition, the data observed that households investing in healthy snacks long term performed the best.

Key takeaway: Align with relevant lifestyles and healthfulness versus dieting to drive long-term success.


Insight #2: Sweet or Savory? Snackers stick to their category of preferred flavor.

Beyond relevant lifestyles, household snacking preferences align with other food preferences as well. For example, healthy snackers tend to seek out healthier choices across all aisles rather than supplementing with less-healthy diet options. Conversely, more traditional snackers seek out choices rooted in convenience.

For example, the analysis showed that Clean Eating Snack buyers were only 6% more likely to buy Traditional Savory Snacks, but 91% more likely to buy High-Protein Snacks.

Key Takeaway: When developing an affinity category audience strategy, leverage categories that have a higher affinity for purchasing your brand’s snack type to increase relevant reach and drive sales.


Insight #3: Age and income are not significant drivers in snacking trends.

Hunger is truly universal. Rich, poor, young, or old, the data reveals that snack purchases follow no strong demographic trends.

Key takeaway: Instead of casting a large net and attempting to target every demographic, rely on past purchase behavior when selecting online audiences. Past purchases are a stronger performance signal than income or age within the snacking category.


Your guide to retain, upsell, and attract new buyers

Snacking is something that just about everyone partakes in, whether a millennial on-the-go, a mom packing snacks for her kids to take to school, or an athlete needing some extra fuel before a workout. While this is an extremely high penetration category for a snack brand to play in, with enormous potential to grow, not every snack and not every snacker is the same. Therefore, brands who are selling snacks should follow the following 3 tips:

To retain and upsell current buyers:

Retention is critical. Our analysis has shown that buyers in the same snacking category from the previous year are significantly more valuable than new buyers.

To attract new buyers within your category:

Align snack category campaigns to subcategories based on levels of healthfulness, which will drive stronger audience relevancy and model quality.

To attract new buyers outside your category:

Lifestyles and healthfulness segments are better suited than dieting for long-term success. Start with the most relevant, and add more as needed to build scale.


Need segments to reach snack buyers? Activate these purchase-based audiences today:

  • Traditional Snack Buyers
  • Traditional Better-for-You Snack Buyers
  • Traditional Bar Buyers
  • Premium Better-for-You Snack Buyers
  • Kids Snack Buyers
  • Better-for-You Bar Buyers
  • Clean Eating Snacks Buyers
  • High Protein Snacks Buyers
  • Brand Buyers*
  • Oracle Lifestyle/BuyStyle Audiences


Contact your Oracle Data Cloud account rep. Audiences are available through:

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