It was not very long ago, most of the people thought it was good enough to eat three regular meals a day and have beverages to satisfy their thirst. Often, they snacked only in between their mealtimes. It was ideally the time when life was easy and the eating behaviors of the people were tidy, organized and predictable.In that previous era, it was found through research that:
- There was a clear and culturally defined guardrails for the meals
- These guidelines were passed on to one generation from the other and
- There were clearly defined rules as well that reflected the meal times.
These were the specific rules set by families that told the family members `about different things such as:
- When their meals should happen
- All those who are required to be there at those times
- How one should act and behave and most importantly
- What should be eaten at those specific times.
In those days, the meals played a very significant role, not only health-wise but culturally as well. It not only helped in creating and maintaining a bond between the family members when they all took their meals together at the same place and at the same time and eating ten same food, but it also traditionally helped in structuring the day.
In short, meals back then were so simpler and it provided focal points marking the beginnings, the endings and the transitions.
The food and beverage cultures
It seems that the culture of food and beverage is ever-changing and in constant motion. When you consider the modern eating culture you will see that it is marked by two specific things such as:
- Fragmentation and
- An overturning of tradition.
Most of the people now know and idealize the concept of having three balanced meals in a day but seldom eat that way.
- Moreover, in these days and times, planning for meals, shopping for the items and cooking all are decentralized.
- Add to that there seem to be very fewer rules about what specific items to eat and drink.
As a result, people end up eating anything and everything whenever they need to, and most of the time they end up eating fast foods that are unhealthy, unsafely prepared and contains little or no nutritional value. People now seem to be more comfortable with eating on the fly. They are lee keen in cooking their meals and snacks and often rely on meals and snacks delivery by the delivery companies to deal with their hunger prangs.
Moreover, in business, today none of the eating or drinking occasion characterizes the fragmented and decentralized modern eating culture that typically follows no specific rules than snacking.
Modern snacking scenario
Therefore, it is important to know what modern snacking exactly looks like. Here it is.
- Snacking occasions now actually reflect the fact that the consumers are more flexible in their approach to eating and drinking overall. In fact, studies have found that this actually comprises of nearly 50% of all food and beverage occasions.
- The consumers today eat and drink around their schedules instead of scheduling around the mealtimes.
According to the modern eating schedule:
- Dinner has become a meager pause between their other activities.
- Lunch, on the other hand, is the most suffered one and is often scheduled out to accommodate a surfeit of must-dos and meetings and
- Breakfast is most often multitasked between communicating, working and even commuting.
All these show that having food now has more of an ad hoc approach to mealtimes rather than a necessity for a healthy living. It is now increasingly a part of the new and busy routine if the individuals.
Therefore, it can be concluded from the above that, while dinner remains as the important social meal occasion, lunch and breakfast happens to be and lunch occasions has become more of routine snacks for most of the people, especially during the weekdays.
The primary reason for people following this trend is that it opens up plans and schedules and at the same time it frees up the time for shopping, planning, cooking and cleaning.
Therefore, if you compare traditional and modern snacking you will see that:
- Traditional snacking was more infrequent and was very much dependent around the concept of having three square meals a day paradigm.
- Modern snacking patterns, on the other hand, look much different form it where meals do not go away but there is an all-day approach to snacking.
This change in approach and concept of modern snacking ultimately impacts not only the significance of the meals but also the health of the consumers as well. This is because to the modern people the quality of meals is less significant as now snacking is more important to them.
Difference of snacks and meals
Ideally, snacks differ from the meals in three discrete ways. Characteristically, snacks are viewed as those that are taken in:
- The smaller size and even if it is taken during the mealtime, it is often considered as a stand-in for the next ‘large eating’ occasion
- Between times as it intuitively falls in the gray areas between meal times that are assigned both socially and culturally.
Snacks are those that require low prep and cleanup time. These typically involve no construction and may only need brief and unattended heating at times for specific snacks items.
Snacking now represents a more dynamic and significant portion of the eating and drinking behavior of almost everyone. Studies reveal that:
- 90% consumers have snacks multiple times in a day
- 7% of these consumers skip meals altogether and prefer all-day snacking
- 80% of all snacking is purposeful as it fulfills all physical, emotional, social and cultural desires and
- 20% of all snacking is aimless and is typically driven by the awareness and availability of food rather than its needs.
Most importantly, it is the faster delivery of the snacking items that has changed the meal times and behavior of the common people.