AskDefine | Define snack

Dictionary Definition

snack n : a light informal meal [syn: bite, collation] v : eat a snack; eat lightly; "She never loses weight because she snacks between meals" [syn: nosh]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /snæk/
  • Rhymes with: -æk


  1. a light meal
  2. an item of food eaten between meals


a light meal
an item of food eaten between meals

See also


  1. to eat a light meal
  2. to eat between meals


to eat a light meal
to eat between meals

Derived terms




snack (uncountable)

Extensive Definition

A snack food (commonly called a snack) is seen in Western culture as a type of food not meant to be eaten as a main meal of the day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner – but one rather that is intended to assuage a person's hunger between these meals, providing a brief supply of energy for the body. The term may also refer to a food item consumed between meals purely for the enjoyment of its taste.
Traditionally snacks were prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home, often leftovers, sandwiches made from cold cuts, nuts, fruit, and the like. The Dagwood sandwich was originally the humorous result of a cartoon character's desire for large snacks.
With the multiplication of convenience stores, packaged snack foods are now a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick and satisfying. Processed snack foods are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and/or more appealing than prepared foods. They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially designed flavors (such as flavored potato chips).

Nutritional concerns

Snack foods are often subjectively classified as junk food; they have little or no nutritional value, and are not seen as contributing towards general health and nutrition. With growing concerns for diet, weight control and general health, government bodies like Health Canada are recommending that people make a conscious effort to eat more healthy, natural snacks – such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and cereal grains – while avoiding high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food.

Industry concerns

The snack food industry in market-driven societies such as the United States generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. The market for processed snack foods is enormous, and a number of large corporations compete rigorously to capture larger shares of the snack food market. Consequently, heavy promotions are used to convince consumers to buy snack foods. Processed snack foods are advertised far more than regular nutritional foods (such as fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products), and the flashiest TV commercials and advertising campaigns are often designed to sell these products.
However, realizing the potential market discovered by companies such as Hansen's Natural, companies like Frito-Lay, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola are now creating new alternatives for consumers.

Types of snack foods



External links

snack in Min Nan: Sì-siù
snack in Danish: Snack
snack in German: Imbiss
snack in Spanish: Snack
snack in Persian: اسنک
snack in Indonesian: Makanan ringan
snack in Hebrew: חטיף
snack in Dutch: Snack
snack in Japanese: スナック菓子
snack in Portuguese: Lanche
snack in Russian: Снэк
snack in Simple English: Snack
snack in Ukrainian: Перекуска
snack in Chinese: 零食

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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