February is National Snack Food Month

It seems like the best and brightest MBA graduates go to work for marketing firms. In 1989, one of them came up with a great idea to increase snack sales in the ho-hum month of February. According to the Snack Food Association (SFA) the idea of the month long munch-fest was

to increase consumption and build awareness of snacks during a month when snack food consumption was traditionally low. The result has been a substantial increase in snack food sales during this month. The promotion kicks off on Super Bowl Sunday and publicity is generated throughout the month of February.

Twenty plus years later, you can’t argue with “success.” We’re a snackin’ nation, that’s for sure, with over $60 Billion in sales of snacks annually.

What you need to know:

The decline of family sit-down meals as well as a blurred line separating meals from snacks means that today it’s easier than ever to not even once during the day eat a meal. Whether it’s the breakfast bar you can chew on your commute or a bag of chips in your desk drawer, we’re always an arm’s reach away from a quick and easy hunger fix.

Riding on the health trend, marketers are now busy reformulating and re-messaging their products has healthy snack options. Whether it’s the 100-calorie snack genre, the “health hallowed” granola bar, or potato chips with only 3 natural ingredients, consumers are being convinced that the snacks they are consuming by  the billions are the best thing to happen in the world since sliced bread.

Now don’t get us wrong, snacking is fine, and can fill an important part of the day both nutritionally and socially (cookies and milk, anyone?), but we’ve really, really got to notice how often we snack, what we choose, and how it affects our mealtimes.

Especially with young children, where a less than ideal snack can fill up a small tummy instead of a much more balanced meal to be served an hour or two later.

What to do at the supermarket:

Get out of the snack aisles, and choose your snacks from surprising lanes in the supermarket. Fruits? Check. Veggies in a dip? Check. Bake your own cookies from scratch? Check.

A great resource full of ideas for healthy snacking is over at the Snack-Girl blog.

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  • http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu Daniel

    Ironically March is ADA Nutrition Month!

  • Carol

    February is also Heart Month… to draw attention to heart disease (ostensibly from all the unhealthy snacks being consumed).

  • annie avery

    one of my saddest memories is being invited to have a table at the local bank’s “Health day”. there were chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc. my table was set up with all the great food snacks and items from the health food store where i was manager, pleased to be a part of this day.. not many takers at the table.. not many snackers.. i noticed across the room was a table offering cupcakes, cookies, food-dye juices, and the whole gamut of crappy foods. ahhh.. reality bites!