CHICAGO, May 20 (UPI) -- Nearly half of the U.S. population snacks at least twice a day, researchers said.
Recent snacking reports from market research firms Technomic, Packaged Facts and SymphonyIRI found:
-- Seven in 10 snacks were eaten in the home, but workplace snacking is on the rise.
-- Retail sales of packaged snacks are estimated to reach $76.8 billion by 2015.
-- When it comes to snack time, three of four consumers tend to snack in the mid-afternoon and four in 10 people snack mid-mornings, mid-evening, and late at night.
-- Half of consumers want snacks that offer an energy boost.
-- Snacks such as trail mix and hummus were the highest-grossing snacks in 2011, up 11.1 percent and 10.5 percent respectively.
-- Three in 10 snacks consumed last year were beverages.
-- Vegetarian items, ethnic street-food-inspired appetizers, charcuterie and bite-sized hors d'oeuvres are the top trendy appetizers for 2012.
-- Two-thirds of women say it's important that snack portions not be too large.
-- Parents are looking for snacks with added nutrients for their children.
-- 60 percent of consumers said the most desired healthy snack attributes are no trans-fat and "beyond basic nutrition," e.g., antioxidants.
The findings were published in Food Technology magazine.