Snacks Keep Attacking


The proof keeps piling up: Snack time is a legitimate meal part, and if it keeps gaining momentum, it could overtake breakfast, lunch and dinner in overall sales.

According to IRI data published on, 14.2 percent of Americans eat five or more snacks a day. But IRI’s Sally Lyons Wyatt warns that “CPG companies shouldn’t take this upward trend for granted, because while many shoppers reach for packaged products to satisfy their growing habit, competition also is heating up from quick and limited service restaurants.”

Currently, quick service and limited service restaurants are the source for 42 percent of consumers’ snacks at least two times a week; some of the leading snacks are smoothies, ice cream treats, donuts and other pastries. But as snackers continue to seek variety in what they snack on, they’re also branching out in terms of how and where they find snacks.

E-commerce, for example, is an emerging and quickly growing source for snacks. Online channels have the advantage of subscription services, automatic fulfillment and direct marketing messages on shoppers’ screens.

IRI also sees specialty stores as a vibrant part of the snacking scene. Boutique candy stores, gelato shops and specialized jerky stores are a few of the niches being filled in the snack world, where they create adventure and make snacking a fun event. For speed and ease, some vending machines are being updated to dispense lattes, farm-fresh salads and boutique cupcakes.

Grocerants are aligned to offer the best of all snacking worlds, from fresh fruit-and-cheese duos to slices of pizza and small tubs of hummus. Experts advise focusing on protein content and better health with foods like roasted nuts, meat jerky and legumes. And be sure to keep packaging and portion control in mind: Offer resealable packs, smaller-sectioned dishes for hot and cold bars, and spill-proof portability.

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Roasted mixed nut bar at premium prices
  • Half-sandwiches packaged for grab-and-go convenience
  • CPG snack-packs cross-merchandised with single-serve fresh produce
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