B2B is where the smart money is in subscription snacks, says SnackNation: 'Millennials expect to have free snacks in the office'

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

SnackNation cashes in as offices woo Millennials with healthy snacks

Related tags: Snack food

Remember when food and drink in the office amounted to a vending machine in the basement spewing candy and soda? While this is still the norm in many workplaces, the landscape is changing rapidly as a generation of young people now expect employers to offer a decent cup of coffee and a wide range of healthy snacks and cold beverages, says SnackNation founder Sean Kelly.

“10 years ago, a few percent of offices offered employees free snacks. Today, that number is almost 25%. Millennials especially just expect to have free snacks in the office, they are a snacking generation, and buying a bunch of candy from Costco or Amazon and throwing it in a bowl doesn’t make them feel cared for.”

Enter B2B snack delivery service SnackNation, which has seen explosive growth since its launch in late 2014, and now has well over 1,000 offices as active subscribers (servicing hundreds of thousands of employees) spending at least $299/month to receive a curated box of snacks from brands such as Dang Foods, KRAVE, EPIC, Clif Bar, Barnana, Beanfields, Harvest Snaps, Rhythm Superfoods, and World Peas.

It’s just taken off, really exploded over the last year

The main markets for SnackNation are Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Houston and Dallas, with target customers typically businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees in white collar industries attracting Millennials.

But the service is also gaining traction in other areas, from “law offices in the Midwest to financial services offices in the south​,” says Kelly, who buys products directly from snack manufacturers and holds inventory in southern California, and then ships curated boxes of snacks to businesses all over the country using Fedex or UPS.

“It’s just taken off, really exploded over the last year. With all of the other costs involved in running a business, paying a few hundred dollars for great snacks is not a big deal for a lot of our clients.”

SnackNation in office-2
Sean Kelly: "Millennials especially, just expect to have free snacks in the office, they are a snacking generation, and buying a bunch of candy from Costco or Amazon and throwing it in a bowl doesn’t make them feel cared for."

Millennials especially, just expect to have free snacks in the office

While it might cost office managers less to go out and buy snacks for employees directly, most of them have better things to do with their time, and SnackNation does all the work for you, says Kelly, who has eight years of experience in the B2B healthy snacking business as the founder of H.U.M.A.N. Healthy vending machines and micro markets​.

“We take all of the hassle out of it. We make sure we know clients’ preferences, particularly what they definitely DONT want, but we also use our experience to curate selections that we rotate every month because Millennials love to try new things and they get bored really quickly. So we include the big names in healthy snacks, but we also integrate emerging, bleeding edge, innovative young brands.

"The discovery part of our platform is a key part of what we're about. We do all the work for you.”

Snacknation in office
The first delivery comes in a branded box, which many customers use to display the snacks on an ongoing basis.

Brands absolutely love this channel

But why focus on B2B rather than B2C, where we have seen a flurry of players from NatureBox​ to Love with Food​ seek to build online snacking empires by signing up consumers to receive regular boxes of goodies?

Because fewer, bigger deliveries to customers with more money to spend makes more economic sense, and because more offices are allocating a budget to free snacks, adds Kelly.

We’d rather send larger amounts to fewer locations​. With B2C subscription boxes, a lot of the customers are only spending nine, 10, 20 bucks, you get low retention rates and high churn and they are not necessarily sharing the products with anyone either.

“Brands absolutely love the B2B channel, though, as they are all targeting what Nielsen calls upscale or affluent Millennials, Millennials with money, and these are exactly the people we’re reaching at SnackNation. We are getting their products out in front of thousands of new customers who are more likely to try new things​ [because office snacks are free], and they are sharing them, and talking about them.”

Read about some of the snacks on offer at the 2016 Natural Products Expo West show HERE​, HERE​, HERE​, HERE ​and HERE​.

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