The report, called High Quality Snack and Beverage Consumers, suggests that consumers feel premium products are the solution to stress, resulting in predicted expenditure on high quality snacks and drinks rising from a reported £1 billion in 2004 to £1.2 billion in 2009.
Moreover consumers maybe trading down on some food products in order to trade up in others and experience indulgence snacks. This is to say, they buy some products more cheaply in order to free up resources to buy more expensive versions of others.
The research questioned 400 people in each of the eight New Consumer Insight (NCI) countries across Europe and North America on their snacking habits.
In all countries, respondents reported that they attempt to wind down by indulging in premium products, in response to rising levels of stress.
The number of snacking occasions is expected to increase 45 per cent by 2009 and manufacturers can take advantage by positioning their products, for example, as rewards for a stressful day, rather than simply as products that provide functional and tangible benefits, said Daniel Bone, the author of the report.
"Snack companies should increasingly embrace occasions such as 'the big night in' and 'entertaining at home' if they are to fully benefit from the trend,"he told BakeryandSnacks.com
The report establishes certain occasions when consumers are likely to trade up to premium, such as; entertaining at home; special occasions when staying in; holidaying; celebrating; eating or drinking at a café; and; when consuming in a social setting.
Bone said that aligning snack products with these occasions was likely to enhance their premium credentials as brands.
Amongst those brands successfully tying brands to the moment of indulgence is Canadian company Orville Reden-Bacher, which established that the key time for premium snacking was between eight and 10pm in the evening. It then marketed its snack brand, Orville, for the moment of indulgence - nine pm.
Dove Chocolate similarly focused on the occasion of snacking using the slogan 'my moment, my dove'.
For mainstream brands Bone said: "Key strategic techniques must be taken to find a unique selling point." Another strategy may be to embrace discount or inflate the luxury credentials of brands.
An example of this could be limited editions; this technique has been seen in confectionery with Mars' Galaxy chocolate brand's 'Promises' range.
He also acknowledged that acquisitions are a way for companies to exploit growth by giving instant luxury qualities.