Despite the current tough economic environment, South African consumers continue to reach for snack products that give them a little boost or as a reward for a task well completed.

Seventy-five percent of South Africans surveyed in the Mondelez International State of Snacking Report believe that it's now more important than ever to have moments of indulgence during the day.

Younger people, in particular, rely on snacks to help them take their minds off the issues of the world, and they are looking for more variety in their snack options.

The 2023 Mondelez International State of Snacking Report for South Africa shows that while people want variety, they still won't compromise on taste; 75% of consumers said they are excited when they find a new snack to try.

The variety that younger people seek is tempered by their desire for quality and standards, while the older population returns to the products they know and love because they know what they're going to get.

Younger people also snack more regularly than older consumers — driven by this desire to try new things — but also as a cost-effective way of boosting energy.

Brand love

Trust, then, is essential — and brands that work hardest to gain and sustain trust are the ones with the best chance of succeeding. Sixty-six percent of consumers who participated in the survey will go out of their way to find their favourite snack, and 72% will pay extra to bring back some of their favourite childhood snack brands.

Mondelez International is home to brands like Cadbury Dairy Milk, with a 200-year global heritage and more than 80 years of history in South Africa. Lunch Bar is a snack that stays with people for their entire lives — they first encountered it at an early age and it remains part of their snacking routine into adulthood.

Nostalgia plays a powerful role in snacking, and it's something we continue to respect — many people will remember being rewarded with a Cadbury Dairy Milk slab when they achieved a milestone at school, for example, and they carry that memory with them when seeking out a reward today.

Snacking in the digital age

We mustn't discount the effects of moving into the digital age on the snacking world. Six in 10 South African consumers (63%) say they are more likely to find new snacks from digital channels than in-person ones.

Digital channels are extending and enriching the snacking exploration process, with 92% of South African consumers having either bought or considering buying a snack in-store after seeing it online.

Stand by your brand

Envelop a history of consistency and authenticity — it's about giving back to communities in a socially meaningful way. When a brand genuinely cares about the people who care for it, consumers understand that they're buying something bigger than a snack.

Snacking smarter

Understanding the provenance of products, the value chain which delivers them to you and their contents is also a growing trend among consumers who are increasingly wary of how what they put into their bodies affects themselves and their environment.

Fifty-five percent of South Africans are tuning into portion sizes, saying they typically take time to portion out snacks before eating, and 57% say they check nutrition labels on snacks before buying them and that doing so makes them feel like a more informed consumer (70%).

Snacking for good

Sustainability is a global focus, but we're finding that South African consumers are starting to make more conscious decisions about how sustainable the products and services they spend their money on are. This is especially prevalent among young people, who are more concerned with environmental and sustainable credentials than young people of 10 or 20 years ago were.

Seventy percent of respondents in our study said that sustainable packaging helps them enjoy their snacks more, and 84% wished that more snacks had biodegradable packaging. Six in 10 consumers indicated that they would pay more for snacks that are better for the environment (63%) and for snacks that contain ethically sourced ingredients (64%).

There are plenty of aspects to consider when it comes to making snacking choices in the modern world, and it's essential that we continue to provide a blend of joy, satisfaction and indulgence in ways that match how our consumers think about their impact on the world they live in.

The future of snacking in South Africa is bright when you consider the large — and still growing — population of young consumers who:
  • count on snacks to get them through tough times (71%)
  • will always find room in their budget for snacks (85%), and
  • are open to trying new snacks (71%).

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