As the year 2016 has continued on, we’ve seen a number of changes to the convenience and grocery industry. From the use of the new “chip card” technology to the growing popularity of grab-and-go meals and foodservice, the convenience store as we knew it before is pretty different. One thing that has remained and probably will well into the future, is the importance of snack items in the c-store industry. While the need for a good variety of snacks has always been a priority for store owners, the various categories continue to evolve.
Here are some of the top snacking trends for today’s c-store and small grocery shoppers:
Customization with foodservice snacking. Many consumers are replacing at least one of their daily meals with a quick grab-and-go snack from the local convenience store. These customers appreciate the ability to have plenty of choices from sandwiches to wraps without the wait at a restaurant.
Provide Healthy options. Today’s customers are more interested in finding healthy alternatives to their daily snacking habits. Offer your customers snack varieties that can satisfy their cravings without leaving them guilt ridden for the rest of the day. Organic sweets, or even minimal ingredient products are a great way to add to your products.
Keep it fresh. Your consumers want quality, and part of providing quality is making sure even your snacks are as fresh as possible. This means offering snacks like fresh fruits or small salads, as well as rotating stock and switching up your inventory. Freshness also helps prevent customers from becoming complacent or even bored.
Take advantage of nostalgia. Although the millennial demographic leads the pack for c-store consumers and keeping up with new products is important, the tried-and-true sweet snacks still dominate their category. Older consumers, and even the younger ones, enjoy having access to the snacks they’ve been buying for years like Tastycakes and Ho-Hos.
Jerky is all the rage. Recent innovations to both flavor and format have made jerky snacks even more popular than ever before. Gone are the days when men were the primary consumer of these meaty treats, women are enjoying the new options too. However, jerky has transitioned into more of a “lifestyle choice” for many male c-store shoppers.
Some facts about the snack market today:
Meat snacks make up 58.9% of the dollar share in their segment of alternative snacks (health, energy, granola, yogurt bars, etc.). (Convenience Store News: Guide to Snacking, May 2016)
Male shoppers make up 54.8% of the candy purchasers in c-stores. (Convenience Store News: Guide to Snacking, May 2016)
“Nuts and seeds are the top grower in the salty snack category with dollar sales rising 9.5% year over year.” (Convenience Store News: Guide to Snacking, May 2016)