Snacking behavior is changing as consumers become more aware of the impact their choices have on their overall well-being and balance, as well as the environment. Findings from a recent survey unveiled that Malaysians are making efforts to be more mindful and present while snacking as 54% actively control their portion sizes, while 51% engage their senses for a more rewarding snacking experience.
On the environmental front however, the survey discovered that recycling is still far from becoming an instinctive habit among Malaysians. Only 36% recycle snack packaging rather than disposing into standard trash cans, and 4 in 5 respondents feel that lesser or recycle-ready packaging does not matter to them.
These are among excerpts from the latest 2023 Malaysian Snacking Behavior survey by Mondelēz International, the maker of iconic global brands and local jewels like Cadbury Dairy Milk, OREO, Jacob’s, Chipsmore, Twisties and more. Conducted in April 2023, the survey is intended to gain insights into Malaysians’ snacking behaviour and their attitude in response to emerging global trends.
“The role of snacking continues to expand beyond just a source of nutrition and indulgence to meet a diverse range of consumer’s needs. As the global leader in snacking, we at Mondelēz International live by our purpose to empower people to snack right. We want to help Malaysians feel good about what they snack on without having to choose between snacking and eating right for the moment. That is why we continue to be a proponent for Mindful Snacking,” said Lim Chain Yin, Regional Nutrition Strategy and Communications Lead for Southeast Asia at Mondelēz International.
Mindful Snacking is a well-being approach to eating with intention and attention. It encourages consumers to be conscious of their choices and be present in the moment to help discover a more satisfying snacking experience.
“Snacking mindfully is not about choosing between eating healthy or restricting ourselves from snacking. It guides us to be more attuned to what we snack, why we snack and how it makes us feel – from determining our needs in the moment be it treat or energy, to learning to slow down by portioning our snacks, reducing distractions and using all our senses, no matter how or when we choose to enjoy it,” explained Chain Yin.
Mindful Snacking Made Easier
Findings from the survey found that Malaysians have a tendency for “multitask snacking” with top snacking moments occurring while watching TV or surfing the net (75%) and studying or working (44%). In addition, snacking remains a source of comfort for Malaysians as a majority of the respondents (63%) turn to snacks to de-stress or unwind, while 61% snack to satisfy cravings.
Observing these patterns, Dr. Satvinder Kaur, Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, UCSI University cautioned that multi-tasking and distraction are some of the common factors preventing people from eating right.
“Snacking helps our body to maintain adequate nutrition as we go about our busy routine, especially for people with a poor or small appetite. However, snacking should not be a thoughtless activity as eating while distracted can disconnect you from your internal hunger and satiety cues. Focus on your food when eating to avoid overeating and apply balanced eating methods such as B.M.V. (Balance, Moderation, Variety) to obtain all the nutrients required by the body,” said Dr. Satvinder.
A major part of Mondelēz International’s commitment to Mindful Snacking comes to life in its focus on packaging and labelling. This includes the introduction of “portion control” packs that are less than 200kcal per pre-wrapped portion, and the Snack Mindfully portion icon to be included on all packs, for all snacks, globally by 2025 to give consumers better clarity on the right portion size and calorie information per portion. Another initiative is to renovate “Better for You” products with improved nutrition and ingredient profiles. These efforts are also supplemented by ongoing #JomSnekBijak initiatives to promote awareness and education on Mindful Snacking habits.
Extending Mindfulness to Environmental Sustainability
While packaging remains an essential tool to keep consumers informed, there is a growing need to rethink its impact on environmental sustainability. The survey also shed light on the attitudes of Malaysians towards sustainable snacking, which includes their recycling habits and actions where snack consumption is concerned.
While the survey established that Malaysians are not recycling snack packaging at high rates, it also found that they are hesitant to bear the costs of environmental sustainability efforts. Only 31% are willing to pay a small carbon tax on snack to offset the environmental impact of making it. This finding contrasts sharply with the global trend, as found in Mondelēz International’s Fourth Annual State of Snacking report, where 61% of consumers are willing to make the commitment.
On a more encouraging note, nearly half of the respondents (41%) do not mind paying extra for snacks produced by companies that adhere to ethical and sustainable practices.
“We believe people should be able to enjoy a delicious snack, knowing that their choices are good for themselves, for others, and for the planet. Regardless of Malaysian’s readiness towards sustainability practices, we will continue to play our part to improve the way we make our snacks with the environmental impact in mind. Today, 96% of our packaging is recycle-ready and we are working on developing infrastructure for the collecting, sorting and recycling of plastic waste in Malaysia. These are just the many ways we are making it easy for consumers as we continue to provide the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way,” said Raja Zalina, Head of Corporate & Government Affairs at Mondelez International (Malaysia & Singapore).
To learn more about how Mondelēz International’s sustainability framework and well-being strategy visit www.mondelezinternational.com/Snacking-Made-Right. Find out more about Mindful Snacking practice at https://www.snackmindful.com/.