How and when consumers eat and drink between meals varies in Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico and China, as well as the U.S., according to a new study from The NPD Group.
In India and Mexico there are two primary peak times for between meal snack occasions and three in the other BRIMC countries. India has a unique before breakfast occasion and Russia and China have the latest peak times for between meal snacking of these countries, according to the NPD study, "International Food and Beverage Habits Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, & China."
The U.S. has three peak times for between meal snack times whereas in Brazil and Mexico there are two between meal occasions – mid-morning and late afternoon/early evening. Both Brazil and Mexico have a late evening meal (8 p.m.) eliminating the need or want for a late evening snack.
Russia, India and China each have three peak times for between meal occasions, according to the study.
Sourcing of between meal foods also varies by country, reports NPD. Approximately one-third of foods consumed between meals in Brazil, Russia, India and Mexico are considered completely or partially homemade. China is more likely to obtain foods from restaurants for between meal foods compared to the other BRIMC countries while consumers in the U.S. rely heavily on foods purchased ready-to-eat from retail for between-meal snacks.
Consumers around the world seek items that taste good when choosing what to eat between meals. Seeking something quick and easy is more important to consumers in the U.S. compared to those in the BRIMC countries. Conversely, seeking something healthy ranks higher in importance for between-meal food choices in the BRIMC countries compared to the U.S.
Fruit is the most frequently consumed between meal foods in all BRIMC countries except for India, where cookies and other baked sweets are the most popular snack food. After fruit the BRIMC countries varied in their preference for sweet versus salty/savory snacks.
"The frequency, timing of, and nature of meal and between-meal occasions throughout the day are the building blocks for developing a strategy for positioning food and beverage products for the BRIMC countries," said Ann Hanson, executive director, product management and author of the study. "Understanding the differences as well as the similarities in eating behaviors among the BRIMC countries will help food companies assess the potential for expansion and growth in these countries."
Read more about foodservice trends.