Revealed: 40% of young binge on crisps and 75% skip meals

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Almost a quarter of Brits - and 40% of under-25s - regularly consume an entire sharing bag of crisps by themselves in one sitting.

This article is part of our Bagged Snacks Digital Feature 2015.

So reveals a new poll for The Grocer that suggests the notion of three square meals a day is becoming a thing of the past, with 57% regularly skipping meals and grazing on snacks instead.

Do you ever skip meals and eat snacks instead? 


If yes, how often? 

Every couple of days35%36%35%32%38%35%42%32%
About once a week21%22%21%12%13%18%28%29%
Less often than once a week14%11%16%9%10%17%12%18%

Which meals do you tend to skip? 


Twenty two per cent regularly polish off 150g bags of crisps on their own. Such ‘sharing’ bags can contain a third of an adult’s daily recommended salt and calorie intake and a quarter of the fat.  

That almost half of under-25s regularly binge on crisps is particularly worrying, says  Lucia Juliano, head of consumer retail research at Harris Interactive, which polled 2,042 consumers for The Grocer.

Do you ever eat sharing bags of crisps? 

Yes, to myself in one sitting22%25%19%40%31%27%15%12%
Yes, to myself over several days27%26%28%33%39%29%32%15%
Yes, with others in a single sitting22%20%25%31%28%33%21%12%
Yes, with others over several days14%11%17%14%18%14%13%12%

“Young people are choosing to snack on an entire sharing bag of crisps instead of eating balanced meals at regular intervals,” she says.  “They seem oblivious to the enormous calorie and saturated fat content they are consuming, ignoring food labels altogether.”

Three quarters of under 25s and 70% of those with children say they regularly skip meals and eat snacks instead. Thirty per cent admitted to skipping meals on a daily basis, rising to almost half - 47% - of under 25s, relying on snacks to fill the gap.

Lunch is skipped more often than breakfast, with 64% missing out on their midday meal compared to 48% skipping breakfast and 17% skipping dinner. The over 55s are the worst lunch offenders, with 70% missing out, while under 35s and those with kids are more likely to skip breakfast.

These missed meals are planned: 58% buy their nibbles as part of their weekly grocery shop compared to 30% who shop at convenience stores and 9% from petrol stations. And the most common reason for skipping meals and snacking is that ‘snacking is easier.”

“Snacking is in fact planned rather than spontaneous,” says Juliano. “People shop with the intention of snacking instead of preparing meals. This indicates a general disinterest in buying food, cooking and sitting down to eat a meal.”

Despite the number that wil consume entire on sharing bags to themselves, others are seeking out healthier options. Of those polled, 66% said they had tried baked, air-popped, rice-based or lower salt snacks and 80% said they were likely to buy them again.

“The huge success of this category is clear, with many people buying into the idea of healthier snacking,” says Juliano.

Have you ever tried ‘healthier’ snacks?


Would you buy again? 


But the jury’s still out when it comes to what colour a bag of cheese & onion crisps should be: 45% of those polled say it should be blue and 43% say green, despite Britain’s best selling brand Walkers using blue fo its cheese & onion offering. 

Next up: Bagged Snacks Q&A


Harris Interactive UK is a full service, consultative custom market research agency working internationally out of offices in the UK and Europe.  With in-house expertise covering all areas of research design, implementation, analysis and reporting, it has particular strengths in loyalty and brand. For more information, please visit the Harris Interactive UK website.


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