|Fresh fruit tops the list of most popular snacks in Viet Nam. — Photo citinews
HCM CITY (VNS) — Fresh fruit tops the list of most popular snacks in Viet Nam, as the country ranked second after the Philippines in Southeast Asia in listing freshness as the most important quality for snacks, according to a report from Nielson, an international global information and insights company.
Conducted from February 17 to March 7, the Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.
It identified which snacks were the most popular and which health, taste and texture attributes were most important in the selection criteria.
The reports says that consumers in the region are relatively healthy snackers, with 30 per cent of Vietnamese, 26 per cent of Indonesians, and 23 per cent of Thais preferring fresh fruit as their snack of choice, compared to 18 per cent of consumers globally.
While 31 per cent of Filipinos, 20 per cent of Singaporeans and 17 per cent of Malaysians rank bread and sandwiches as their preferred snack followed by fresh fruit.
Sixty-two per cent of Vietnamese consider freshness as the most important criterion, followed by flavour and indulgence (i.e., the right balance between healthy and indulgent).
While freshness takes the lead in the region with 75 per cent of Filipinos, 54 per cent of Malaysians, 52 per cent of Indonesians, 48 per cent of Singaporeans and 40 per cent of Thais, flavour is also an important texture attribute for the majority of consumers.
The report shows that having all natural ingredients is a priority for three in five Vietnamese consumers.
Meanwhile, concerns about taste and health focus more on the absence of ingredients than the addition of them.
No artificial colours rated as the most important health attribute for Indonesians (56 per cent), Malaysians (49 per cent) and Thais (45 per cent), while low salt and no artificial colours topped the list for Singaporeans (34 per cent).
Filipinos rated fibre as the most important attribute of snacks (63 per cent).
Along with Filipinos, Vietnamese are the most environmentally conscious consumers, with half of Filipino respondents saying that it is very important that snacks include ingredients that are organic and 40 per cent preferring local herbs.
Close to half of Vietnamese consumers say sustainable sourcing is important.
Consumers from Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore rank enjoyment as the foremost reason for snacking, a view shared by majority of global respondents.
Conversely, 74 per cent of consumers in the Philippines view snacks as a source of nutrition and nearly eight out of 10 Thai consumers snack to satisfy a craving.
Southeast Asia is a key driver of growth for the global snack food industry, with snack food sales in Southeast Asia growing at a rate of 3.6 per cent year-on-year compared to 2 per cent globally.
Spending is forecast to increase as Southeast Asia welcomes almost 300 million new consumers in the next decade; rising income levels and a burgeoning middle class population will fuel growth in the coming years.
"Southeast Asia is the stage for future growth of snacking for two key reasons: increased consumption per capita and a growing middle class population," says Connie Cheng, head of Shopper Insights for Nielsen in Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific.
"Localising product portfolios to appeal to the taste and health preferences of Southeast Asian consumers is critical for a successful growth strategy."
On the whole, there are clearly two ends of the spectrum: impulse-driven snackers who try a variety of snacks to satisfy their craving and primarily consume snacks immediately after purchase, and purposeful and planned snackers.
"For purposeful snackers, it is important to clearly state product features such as sustainable sourcing and fair trade. Conversely, getting products in high visibility areas, particularly in front-of-store locations, is key to cornering the impulse-driven snack market," Cheng said. — VNS