The following is presented to explain the meaning of the behavioral evidence found by CultureWaves curators. Our White Papers help define the “why” around the behavior—which leads to understanding “why” the consumer makes his/her buying choices. They also become predictive in nature, showing where the behavior could go next. That information, when used by a great brand, means that new information, new products, new ideas can be ready when the consumer is looking for them. This SAMPLE White Paper on Snacking is presented to help clarify the behavior around snacking by the American consumer.

Think about snacking.

Just the thought makes you itch to go through the stash in your drawer, right? The one where you’ve hidden an assortment of candy bars, nuts, and packaged cookies or chips.

Before you go there, think about this: What is the overarching behavior that leads to snacking? You might think it’s hunger, or perhaps boredom. It could even be habit—coffee break time. However, our CultureWaves empirical* evidence shows that the behavior of snacking in 2015 is actually around meal replacement.

*knowledge acquired by observation through our proprietary software

When you follow the evidence over time, you can see how the consumer behavior around snacking has evolved to its current position. This White Paper is devoted to outlining some of the key points of evidence that lead us to the overarching behavior of snacking as a replacement to a daily meal. Keep in mind that the evidence presented here is what we call “hero” evidence—these are simply examples of many pieces of evidence that are collected and cataloged within our proprietary database.

There are several key behaviors that we are observing when it comes to snacking. They are: Supplementary, On the Go, Experimentation, Brand Trust, Flavor Trust, Exotic Experience, and Destination Worthy, as seen in the chart below.


These key behaviors are used to categorize the “why” behind snacking and show the motivations of consumers’ decisions. Let’s look at the evidence.


In the “Supplementary” behavior spectrum, we find that people want satisfying snacks that have an additional health benefit. In our CultureWaves ontology, that falls under the physiological need of Body Warranty, with the human truth that says, “I want more out of my body than ever before.” As we have watched the evolution of this behavior, we have identified what we call “targeted improvement,” in which consumers are now singling out a focus area of their body and pairing it with a supplement to build their body up and improve.


In other words, consumer buying behavior will respond to something that assures them that it’s OK to snack when you are getting something beneficial out of the experience. Even more so, they want to be able to tie a specific food product to a particular area of health or physical improvement. That means messaging that tells them “eat this and you’ll get ______ result” is effective for those exhibiting this behavior.

Brand Trust

The “Brand Trust” behavior spectrum around snacking is about relying on familiarity and the power of a trusted brand to win customers. New products introduced by trusted brands are a safe risk and one the consumer will spend a little money to try. In our CultureWaves ontology, that falls under the safety need of Brand Sanctuary, with the human truth that says, “I count on your brand not to let me down.” The current evolution of this behavior has led us to “functional equity.” This simply means that while the brand is still important, the way the product functions is becoming even more important in leveraging consumer trust. If the product doesn’t live up to its traditional expectations, consumers move on quickly.


In this case, consumer buying behavior will respond to the knowledge that they are making an investment worth their time, attention, and money. They are basically guaranteed to like it, because if they don’t, they trust that the brand will stand behind it, listen to their concerns, give them their money back, or otherwise correct the problem. This puts the onus on the brand to be prepared to be responsive and earn that customer loyalty anew every day. Messaging that tells the consumer “you know us—and we know what you like” can be effective in reaching this particular audience.

That’s the end of the sample, but we have more! For the full white paper showing evidence across the remainder of the behavior spectrums identified, along with key insights and opportunities, contact us at 417-875-5000. We are also happy to provide a quote on category-specific reports for your brand.

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