Canadian Vending

Features Consumer Behaviour Trends
Growing single-person households in U.S. influencing snacking behaviour

September 18, 2015
By Canadian Vending


Chicago – Single-person households in the U.S. are 38 million strong and growing, which stands to reason why this group has an impact on snacking in terms of eating behaviours, packaging, and marketing, reports The NPD Group.

The growth in snack foods being consumed at meal time are largely driven by people who are eating those meals alone, according to the firm’s recently released Snacking in America report.

In 2014 annual eatings per capita of snack foods consumed at meal times among solo diners reached 191 compared to 167 in 2011, which stretched across the U.S. population represents a difference of billions of eating occasions. Much as in larger households, health and weight management is among the key motivations to eat snack foods (particularly better-for-you snack foods) at meals for solo diners, the research indicated.

Tying into the rise of single-person homes, the most common over-indexing motivator cited across the better-for-you categories was the fact it came in a single-serve package.


Like a majority of other households, single-person households plan the snack foods they will be eating at meals ahead of time, typically more than a day before. A significantly smaller number of eating occasions include a snack food that was planned less than an hour before. Supermarkets tend to be the shopping outlets of choice for snack foods consumed at a meal.

“Smaller household sizes and eating alone are among the growing factors with snacking,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Food manufacturers and retailers should think about the unique needs of the solo consumer when developing products and packaging, and marketing messages should be crafted to be relevant to them and their snacking behaviours.”

Singles make up 28 per cent of Canadian households and are among the country’s fastest-growing demographics, according to Statistics Canada. They make up approximately 27 per cent of U.S. households.