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Whether it is a mid-morning muffin, a midnight bowl of ice cream, or the ultimate afternoon indulgence, full-fledged British high tea, the snack traditionally satisfies a small hunger between meals or before bedtime. While many U.S. consumers continue to snack at home or with items brought from home, factors including fast-paced lifestyles, dietary trends and a rise in single-parent and two-working-parent families create increased reliance on snack-style items from quick service restaurants (QSR). Cheese, sour cream and other dairy products are in high demand as ingredients as well as stand-alone snack options. Creative use of regular menu items combines with smaller portion, hand-held options like snack wraps and squeeze yogurt to help restaurants meet consumers' on-the-go snack needs.

Restaurateurs can count on U.S. processors to offer a reliable supply of top-quality dairy products to meet growing snack item demand. Chefs all over the world depend on U.S. dairy products' flavor, performance and innovative edge to help exceed customers' expectations and stay ahead of the competition. Learn more about U.S. dairy products by browsing the Product Section.

Snack Trends

snackShifts in traditional meal and snack times, frequency and options serve consumer demand. Variations of breakfast, lunch and dinner items are commonly found on QSR menus designed for all three day parts. Recent between-meal snacking menu updates expand traditional mealtimes into four or more daily opportunities for consumers to visit QSR establishments. Ongoing QSR value menu expansion and revitalization features new items like snack wraps designed as smaller, lighter-tasting and more portable options than main menu items.   

Mealtime fragmentation

Originally a midnight, after-party or post-show crowd attraction, the concept of a fourth meal now resonates with the fast-paced lifestyles of new audiences. The overall health and wellness trend is also a factor, as recent medical community findings point to the potential benefits of several smaller meals per day in place of three large meals.  

The shift in eating patterns creates mealtime fragmentation and common ground for new small meal occasion menu offerings. Non-traditional meals in a day might feature: a small baked item with coffee at 8 a.m.; a snack wrap-style hand-held at 10:30 a.m.; a chef's salad at 1 p.m.; and two tacos at 7 p.m. These non-traditional, snack-type meals are able to satiate consumers with the help of nutrient-dense ingredients such as cheese.   

Snack wraps

Health and wellness trend demands led to QSR menu additions that consumers perceive as lighter, healthier choices. The new snack wrap sensation resulted from a rise in chicken, turkey and fish menu items as alternatives to red meat and use of tortillas/wraps to reduce carbohydrates and sugars from breads. The popularity of the initial snack wrap offering by one QSR chain-chicken strips, cheddar and monterey jack cheese, lettuce and ranch dressing wrapped in a tortilla-firmly established the menu item in the segment. Multiple snack wrap items, all of which incorporate natural cheese, now appear on several QSR chains menus.

Formulas & Recipes

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.