Nestlé Is Focusing On 'Smeals' In 2023, But What Are They?

American eating habits are forever changing. A 2018 survey conducted by food company Farm Rich, for example, revealed that a mere 27% of the 2,000 adults surveyed still ate three meals each day. Instead, the most common eating pattern revealed by those surveyed consisted of two traditional meals, with three snacktimes sprinkled in throughout the day.

In the years since the Farm Rich survey, the popularity of snacking has only continued to rise. More recently, CNN reported on a snacking study by Mondelez, which showed that nearly two-thirds of respondents preferred eating several smaller meals to larger ones. Approximately the same percentage also noted that they substitute snacks in place of at least one of the traditional mealtimes.

Large food companies are obviously paying attention to this data, or supplementing it with their own research. Nestlé, for instance, has over 4,000 people assigned to research and development. Not surprisingly then, given the trending numbers in recent years, snacking figures largely in the food giant's product plans for 2023 — although that's not exactly the word Nestlé uses. For the company's 2023 plans, the operative word is "smeals."

The definition of smeals, and what it says about our eating habits

Nestlé USA has predicted the new trends it believes matter most in 2023 and has tweaked its product line to match, according to the company's website. The shift from the traditional three-meal-per-day paradigm has indeed been noted, and Nestlé has thus created the portmanteau word "smeals" — half snack, half meal — to refer to its new, more robust snack offerings. Nestlé USA is touting products such as its DiGiorno pizzas and Hot Pockets Deliwich, which it believes fit the emergent demand for food items that are more filling than a snack, but less filling than a full-sized meal.

"As our lives change, our eating habits change too," notes Mel Cash, Nestlé USA's chief strategy officer, via the company's website. "Increasingly, we're abandoning the model of three meals a day for a more hybrid routine including smaller meals and snacks throughout our day. Think of them as smeals — snacks that are substantial enough to count as a mini-meal!"

Food Business News reports that Nestlé's Hot Pockets Deliwich product boasts a unique convenience factor in that heating isn't necessary. The three meat with cheese options (a fourth is a cheese only) are all "thaw and eat." Nestlé notes that this fits well within its new concept. Consumers simply remove the products from the freezer to thaw and then enjoy them as a smeal when hunger strikes later in the day.