Eating Occasions


The line between meals and snacks has blurred, and consumers are looking for healthy options to fuel them throughout the day. This eating occasion is now valued at more than $90 billion1, it has grown by an average of 25% per year over the last five years2 and the innovation possibilities are seemingly limitless. Dairy ingredients present an opportunity for formulators to capitalize on their health halo, while realizing functional benefits.


Snacking Trends

Offering more nutritious snacking options stands out as a tremendous opportunity, not just for families and young adults, but also for an older population. Since snacks need to work within consumers busy schedules it is also important to offer convenience where possible. 

Health and wellness

Consumers are looking at snacks as a way to help achieve their healthy eating goals. Highlighting natural ingredients, including dairy, is one opportunity to boost a product's resonance with consumers. Additionally, snacks provide just 14% of U.S. consumers' total protein intake per day, which could indicate some new territory for product developers to innovate. Plus, Innova research notes that snack bars are an important category for protein enrichment.3 Dairy ingredients can help achieve higher-protein products with a more consumer-friendly, simple label. 


The need for single-serve products that are ultra-convenient and at least somewhat healthy remains one of the biggest drivers in food and health.4 Snacks must be quick-to-prepare, portable and able to be stored anywhere to fit today's busy consumer lifestyles. Multitasking is common during this eating occasion and kids have activity-packed lives that require eating on the run. Grab-and-go options are a critical eating strategy for many. Dairy ingredients can help heighten the nutritional credentials of go-to convenient snacks. More importantly, they provide great taste that will have consumers coming back for more.

Healthy aging

Today's aging U.S. baby boomers view their food choices as having an impact on their health. They define eating healthfully to mean including "good foods," not just avoiding the "bad".5 They see nutrients as a tool to provide optimum health, and are concerned about sodium-related disease states (according to multiple consumer research sources).Today, a significant number are working to reduce or avoid sodium. Dairy ingredients, including permeate, can help new product developers create products that meet this need.

Formulas & Recipes

The U.S. Dairy Export Council provides support for the formulation of both sweet and savory snacks.

Pandan Sesame Cookies

Pandan Sesame Cookies

Enjoy these fragrant and crispy pandan sesame cookies that will make a lovely accompaniment to your afternoon tea.


Pistachio Cranberry Sugee Cookies

Pistachio Cranberry Sugee Cookies

Enjoy this simple but elegant concoction that exudes freshness of cranberries and pistachio nuts.


Pandan Lotus High Protein Mooncakes

Pandan Lotus High Protein Mooncakes

Fortified with quality U.S. Dairy protein, these fragrant seasonal treats are best paired with a cup of Chinese tea.


Resources & Insights

Resources and support for development of snacking applications are available through USDEC.

U.S. Whey Products in Snacks

From flavor to function, learn all the benefits whey offers snacking applications.

Snacking: Identifying a World of Opportunities for Dairy

This white paper will identify opportunities for dairy within the snacking occasion utilizing snack category and consumer insights.

Now is the Time to Promote the New DIASS Method 

The new DIASS method more accurately reflects the quality of dairy proteins.(Dairy Foods, January 2013)

Protein Quality Matters

Spurred by a growing body of science, dietitian/trainer advice and a more educated consumer, interest in protein continues to increase.

1Get your share of snack time. Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. 2010.
2Innova Database. Snacks Revolution 2013. July 2013.
3Innova Database. Raising the Bar in a Crowded Market. November 2013.
412 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2014. November 2013.
5Wellness and Functional Beverages in the U.S. December 2011.
6Sodium Insights from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. September 2010.