Category Snapshot: Salty Snacks


NATIONAL REPORT — The future of snacking at convenience stores is bright thanks to growth that is fueled by changes in population and consumer demand, according to new data and analysis provided to Convenience Store News by Nielsen.

Salty snack dollar sales are up 2 percent at food, drug and mass-merchandise (FDM) retailers, while unit sales are struggling at zero percent growth. However, in the convenience channel, salty snacks posted a 7-percent increase in dollar sales during the 52 weeks ended in August 2015 and 5-percent growth in unit sales during the same timeframe.

Although high-volume salty snack segments such as potato chips, which make up nearly a quarter of total snack sales, continue to grow year over year, some lower dollar volume segments are seeing double-digit growth in both dollar and unit sales. For example, ready-to-eat popcorn is a smaller segment, but smart flavor innovation is driving it to gain share in the snacking world, growing 18 percent in dollar sales and 14 percent in unit sales.

With generational shifts, both the need for indulgence and the need for health and wellness will grow, which naturally provides merchandising opportunities throughout the convenience store, Nielsen explained. Looking for ways to innovate to meet consumer demand will become key to finding success, the researcher highlighted. 

Nielsen is a global information and measurement company with headquarters in New York.

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