The Important Role the College Demographic has on the Snack Industry

The Important Role the College Demographic has on the Snack Industry

Snack companies should utilize collegiate marketing and on-campus advertising to target the snack-crazed, on-the-go college consumer.

College students keep strange hours and their busy lifestyle impacts their choice of food and beverage purchases. They want food that does not slow them down and adds value to their lives. Snacks that cater to their on-the-go lifestyle are hugely popular among the college crowd, making college students a key consumer segment for the snack industry: “In fact, the serious snacking habits of college students contributed heavily to the $18.5 billion worth of snack sales in US restaurants, vending machines, and mobile vendors that was expected last year.”[1] This shows the important role college consumers have on the snack industry.

College students have huge spending power when it comes to buying snack food and their food consumption habits are growing increasingly atypical. Shawn LaPean, executive director of Cal Dining at the University of California-Berkeley, explains that “Eating weird is the new normal. If students eat any square meals per day, it might be one. The rest is filled with snacks and food on the go.”[2] This trend away from traditional meals and towards increased snacking shows the growing value college students place on convenience.

When marketing to college students it is important to show them how your product will contribute to their lives. Whether it’s an energy boost to help with late night cramming or an easily transportable grab-and-go snack for the early morning rush, make sure to emphasize the benefits. Convenience is not the only thing that matters to college students when it comes to choosing snack options. Flavor is a huge factor, as well as having many options. College students love experiences and introducing new flavors, flavor combinations, and limited-time offers contributes to their sense of adventure. It makes your brand fresh and exciting, and keeps consumers interested.

Though college students consume a lot of snacks, competition among snack companies remain fierce. One way to gain an edge over the competition is through college marketing. By utilizing college marketing and on-campus advertising, your company will reach this essential consumer demographic. You can use college street teams to distribute product samples to students; this will generate awareness and increase sales: In fact “45% [of students] report having received product samples during the school year, with two-thirds of those going to purchase the brand.”[3] If you want to attract college students’ discretionary spending dollars, college marketing is a must!

Contact NAM Youth Marketing today and we’ll connect your brand with the elusive college consumer.


[1] Read more here: Ah, the good life

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