Snack happy Britain – Dawn Woodward National Sales manager Curaprox UK

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  Posted by: Dental Design      11th November 2019

Britain is a nation of snackers. According to a consumer survey conducted for the Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of Our Favourite Snacks, we have become the biggest snackers in Europe, eating four times more crisps than the French or Italians. The average Briton now eats crisps, nuts or popcorn seven times a week, but it is young people who are recognised as Generation Graze for being particularly fond of nibbles.[i], [ii] With the UK snack market currently worth over £18 billion and growing in value, how exactly has snacking become such a significant trend within British food culture?[iii]

Following the industrial revolution, regular working hours brought structure to meal times in order to better sustain labourers. By the late eighteenth century, the pattern of eating three meals a day began to emerge in towns and cities, eventually developing into a widely accepted routine.[iv] Nowadays, many people are eating more frequently than they ever have before and often outside of traditional meal times.[v] A contributing factor of this is that many of us are leading increasingly busy lifestyles and therefore require quicker, more convenient ways to sustain ourselves.

As a result, snacks have become highly valuable as a vital source of energy that can be easily consumed on-the-go throughout the day. Besides to prevent or relieve hunger and boost energy, people snack for a variety of different reasons, including due to habit, for emotional gratification, or out of sheer boredom. Individuals may also snack to satisfy a craving, relieve stress, lose/gain weight, or control blood sugar levels. The latest statistics show that although 40% of people think that they should be snacking less often than every day, 76% actually snack more than once a day, with women being more likely to snack than men.[vi]

If you tend to reach for the nibbles between 3pm and 4pm, then you are not alone. Snacking primarily occurs between meal times, with the mid-afternoon being the most frequent snacking time for over half of Britons, followed by the mid-morning and after dinner in the With easy access to an unlimited amount of food and drinks, it’s no wonder that many people snack whenever they feel like it, rather than at planned times during the day. This may be why 42% of consumers are now replacing regular meals with snacks, while 8% are forgoing breakfast, lunch and dinner altogether in favour of all-day snacking.[vii]

It seems that where we snack is also just as important to us as when we snack. Many people do so while they are travelling or when they are at work. In fact, snacking has become quite commonplace amongst UK workers, with one survey revealing that a staggering 88% of employees consider snacks an important element of any modern workplace.[viii] Snacking remains a favourite pastime at home, but some experts argue that this can contribute to unhealthy eating habits. One study has found that failing to concentrate on what you eat and being distracted – whether by reading a book, watching TV or using a computer – ultimately increases snack intake.[ix]

Taking all of this into account, what is it that most people are choosing to snack on? As consumers have become much more health conscious, perhaps it is no surprise that fruit is the most popular snack among British adults. Yet, crisps, biscuits, chocolate bars, and other chocolate confectionery still remain very popular go-to snacks.[x] This is a worrying trend considering research shows frequent snacking on food and drinks that are high in sugar or fat can increase an individual’s risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing subsequent comorbidities.[xi], [xii], [xiii]

Consuming unhealthy snacks can also detrimentally affect oral health. Studies have reported that constant snacking on sugar-rich food and drinks exposes the teeth to repeated acid attacks from oral bacteria reacting to the sugar, thereby increasing the risk of plaque build-up and dental caries.[xiv], [xv], [xvi] This could lead to tooth loss if left untreated, which emphasises the importance of maintaining healthy snack habits in conjunction with good oral hygiene. Dental professionals can help patients optimise their dental cleaning routine by recommending effective oral healthcare products from Curaprox, including the CS 5460 manual toothbrush. This can be used in combination with the CPS Prime interdental brush to achieve optimal cleaning results, even in the most hard-to-reach areas.

Snacking is as much a part of British food culture as tea and Sunday roast. The key to whether a snack is good or bad for you is based on what snack you choose and how much of it you eat. If you choose carefully and plan ahead, snacks can be a healthy part of a balanced diet, providing vital nutrients and energy to keep you going throughout the day. So long as they are consumed in moderation, snacks can have a positive effect on overall health and wellbeing.


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[i] Lambert, V. (2017) The new rules of snacking. The Telegraph. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[ii] Mintel. (2016) Brits relax on snacks: Consumers cut down on snacking as less than a third (29%) now eat sweets between meals. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[iii] Parman, J. (2018) Welcome to the snacking revolution. Nielson. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[iv] Griffin, E. (2018) Diets, Hunger and Living Standards During the British Industrial Revolution. Past & Present. 239(1): 71-111. DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtx061. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[v] Gill, S. and Panda, S. (2015) A Smartphone App Reveals Erratic Diurnal Eating Patterns in Humans that Can Be Modulated for Health Benefits. Cell Metabolism. 22(5): 789–798. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.09.005. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[vi] Harris Interactive. (2018) The Grocer: Snacking. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[vii] Hartman Group. (2019) The Future of Snacking: When a Suitcase Full of Snacks Predicted the Demise of Traditional Mealtime. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[viii] ZeroCater. (2018) ZeroCater Reveals Food in the Workplace Findings. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[ix] Higgs, S. (2015) Manipulations of attention during eating and their effects on later snack intake. Appetite. 92: 287-294. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.05.033.

[x] MacLeod, H. (2013) 1/3 of children eat crisps daily. YouGov. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[xi] Bes-Rastrollo, M., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Basterra-Gortari, F. J., Nunez-Cordoba, J. M., Toledo, E. and Serrano-Martinez, M. (2010) Prospective study of self-reported usual snacking and weight gain in a Mediterranean cohort: The SUN project. Clinical Nutrition. 29(3): 323-330. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2009.08.017.

[xii] Chan, R. S. and Woo, J. (2010) Prevention of Overweight and Obesity: How Effective is the Current Public Health Approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 7(3): 765–783. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph7030765. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[xiii] Murakami, K. and Livingstone, M. B. E. (2015) Eating Frequency Is Positively Associated with Overweight and Central Obesity in US Adults. The Journal of Nutrition. 145(12): 2715-2724. DOI: 10.3945/jn.115.219808. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[xiv] Johansson, I., Holgerson, P. L., Kressin, N. R., Nunn, M. E. and Tanner, A. C. (2010). Snacking Habits and Caries in Young Children. Caries Research. 44(5): 421–430. DOI: 10.1159/000318569. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[xv] Iftikhar, A., Zafar, M. and Kalar, M. U. (2012) The relationship between snacking habits and dental caries in school children. International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health. 4(12): 1943-1951. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].

[xvi] Gupta, P., Gupta, N., Pawar, A. P., Birajdar, S. S., Natt, A. S. and Singh, H. P. (2013) Role of Sugar and Sugar Substitutes in Dental Caries: A Review. ISRN Dentistry2013: 519421. DOI: 10.1155/2013/519421. Link: [Last accessed: 16.08.19].


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