Consumers are increasingly picking up snacks to curb their hunger between meals or to replace meal completely, with 98% of American households purchasing snacks at least once for quick and convenient consumption. Annual household spending on individually-packaged snacks has increased 1.1% over the previous year, according to the Nielsen data.
All snacking categories have seen increases in their sales, with bars experiencing the strongest absolute dollar growth, followed by jerky, and cookies/crackers. Sales for those three categories alone have increased $1.65 bn in just three years (2013-16).
Dairy snacks account for 22% of individual snacking dollars, but the highest year-on-year growth have been seen for salty snacks (+6%), cookies/crackers (+6%), jerky (+5%) and produce (+5%), says Nielsen.
The strongest uptick in sales are being driven by products with healthful clams, particularly snacks making non-GMO claims (+18.2% for each of the past five years), free from artificial colors/flavors (+16.2%) and no/reduced sugar claims (+11.3%). For comparison, the average snack product has seen an increase of only 1.2%.
“Yet as consumers strive to make healthier life choices, convenience is still king,” states the Nielsen Insights. “When shoppers make quick trips to the convenience store, they are purchasing less healthy options, possibly because the healthy assortment they are accustomed to at conventional stores are not available.
“However, with 44.2% of consumers willing to pay premium prices at convenience stores, there is an opportunity to grow healthier snacking options in this channel. Additionally, 33% of convenience store shoppers plan to purchase fresh food at convenience stores in the future, opening up the opportunity for innovation to reach the consumer on this trip type.”
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