The world may appear a dynamic and colourful and we may love to see ourselves as really unique persons, but we’re not that different from each other, at least when it comes to food. A new global survey on eating habits reveals that most people are replacing regular meals with snacks. And chocolate is the most preferred snack globally.
When hunger strikes, some reach for snacks, while others prefer cookies. Health-conscious individuals would rather have a fresh fruit or yogurt, but most of us simply surrender to the irresistible force of the chocolate. This isn’t just a blank statement – chocolate was found the most preferred snack around the world by the first-ever global snacking study by Nielsen. It asked 30,000 people from 60 countries to reveal the most common snacks they ate in the past month. The cocoa-based dessert is the top choice for 64% of the respondents and surprisingly, the second-most-common treat is a fresh fruit (62%), followed by the equally unexpected fresh vegetable (52%). Of course, cookies (51%) also find a place on the list, while bread (50%) is a bit unusually categorized as a snack.
The survey also reveals a new trend in global eating habits – people are increasingly replacing their meals with snacks. 91% of the people admit they are snacking at least once a day, while 21% of them say they do it throughout the day. Nearly half of all respondents (45%) say they grab a snack instead of eating a meal, with most of them getting a sandwich or a fruit for breakfast.
Chocolate is No.1 in China and Japan, as well as for 69% of the people in the Asia Pacific. Europeans prefer fresh fruits (62%), while people in Latin America say they’re snacking yogurt (66%). In Northern America, diets are much unhealthier, with 63% of people admitting to grabbing potato or tortilla chips. For 52% of the respondents across the Middle East and Africa, fresh fruits are the top snacking choice, followed of course by chocolate.
According to the researchers, total global snack sales reached $347 billion in the year that ended March 2014. And many people are finding it hard to define what a meal is, and what – a snack. Snacking is indeed is going global, but it’s not a good replacement for healthy eating, experts warn. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are great snacks when you feel hungry, but most people prefer packaged foods, salted chips, and sugary treat, which have very low nutritional value.