Survey Indicates Consumer Views on Healthy Snacks Are Subjective

CHICAGO — Consumers' perceptions of what constitutes a healthy snack is subjective, but even so, 86% of shoppers consider fresh fruit a healthy snack, and 73% believe raw vegetables are a healthy snack, according to a recent consumer survey by Mintel, a market research firm. Nuts and seeds, too, qualified as healthy, 71% respondents said.

However, a surprising number, 12%, called ice cream a healthy snack, and 9% said cookies were healthy.

According to the Mintel research, among healthy snackers, 44% say they tend to eat healthfully most of the time and 42% said they make it a point to snack on foods that are healthy. At the same time, 39% of healthy snackers say they use less-healthy nibbles as an occasional treat, Mintel reports.

Snacks are often an impulse purchase, and one of convenience. As a result, people are at the mercy of the food choices most available. Nearly half (46%) of respondents said it is hard to find healthy snacks in vending machines or other on-the-go locations, while 16% believe it takes more time to prepare a healthy snack than other types.

Increasing accessibility and portability can help maximize usage, said Molly Maier, senior wellness analyst at Mintel, in a statement about the new findings.