Snacks have always been a staple in convenience stores across the nation; they are highly sought after every year. The attitude of the consumer is changing at the moment, however. Snack foods are still in demand and still will be for the foreseeable future, but in this case, one theme is beginning to prevail: health.
In the snack world, there is a large void that has made itself present: items eaten with meals and items eaten in between meals. This isn’t to say that this perceived void hasn’t had its share of occupants, but it is something that is quickly more noticeable when it comes to the snack food industry. In a Convenience Store News article, a study conducted by The NPD states that there has become a steady blend between traditional meals and snack foods. According to the article, this behavioral shift can be attributed to Millennials (age 24-37), Generation X (38-48) and Generation Z (0-23); “factors influencing this change include their positive attitudes about snacking, desire to eat more healthfully and need for convenience” (2014). Fitness has become a staple in some of these generations, and focusing on food that is better overall when it comes to health has become prevalent over looking for something that is wallet-friendly.
For the emerging brands that focus on health centered consumers, there is more than enough room for growth. The first statistic to this point “shows that snack items eaten at main meals will grow by approximately 5 percent during the next few years to 86.4 billion eatings in 2018” (2014). Customers will turn more to these sorts of snack foods to consume with meals in order to garner the needed nutrients to meet their weight/diet/fitness goals. They will also turn to these products in between meals in order to keep up with their healthy habits and provide a boost to their metabolism. In essence, there is a growing market for brands to focus on. Existing brands will more than likely look to invest in this area, allowing themselves to branch out and turn to innovation to produce healthier products.
Some of the listed products that will be a focus include fresh fruit, refrigerated yogurt, protein bars, etc. (2014). As with the attitude of consumers deciding that convenience and location is more of a concern than price (as well as finding the exact product that they need), this same sentiment will overlap into the snack category. Price won’t be as much of a concern as health benefits. Of course, a candy bar might cost $0.99, but what can it offer the consumer besides a sugar rush and a plethora of fat? If the bars next to the candy have a higher nutritional value, this will display more of a long-term gain to the consumer and likely win the purchase battle. There are things for brands to pay attention to, and if the primary one is the focus of the customer, then there is certainly room to flourish in the near future.
“Consumers Adding Snack Foods to Main Meals.” Convenience Store News. 2014.