Forecast 2019: The Prognosis for Snacks
NATIONAL REPORT — The lack of negative expectations for the candy category this year is mirrored in the snacks categories, indicating that convenience stores remain a top destination for small treats and meal replacements.
Most convenience store retailers expect their salty snack sales to hold steady, with 52.6 percent believing average dollar sales per store will stay the same and 58.8 percent believing unit volume per store will stay the same. Meanwhile, increased dollar sales are expected by 47.4 percent of surveyed retailers and 41.2 percent expect unit volume to rise, according to the results of the 2019 Convenience Store News Forecast Study.
The overall expected net change in the salty snacks category for 2019 is a 3.4-percent increase for dollar sales and 2.8-percent growth for unit volume. Some retailers believe rising costs will inflate dollar sales even as unit volume remains the same.
The introduction of new flavors — particularly spicy varieties — as well as private-label products and loyalty programs are expected to have a positive impact on salty snacks, along with another product category, where legal. "Increased beer sales contribute to this increase," said one retailer.
C-store operators forecast a rosier future for alternative snacks, with 58.8 percent saying they expect dollar sales in the category to increase, and an even 50 percent saying they expect unit volume to increase. No retailers predict a decline.
The overall predicted net change for the alternative snacks category in 2019 is a 3.6-percent increase in dollar sales and a 3.5-percent increase in unit volume.
As the demand for healthier snacks grows and consumers seek alternatives to traditional snacks like chips, clean-label attributes will be more impactful to the category, retailers note.
The 17th annual CSNews Forecast Study includes a Retailer Forecast and Supplier Forecast, both based on the results of a survey fielded in November 2018. Participants were asked to predict 2019 sales per store for a variety of product categories, as well as to share their opinions on overall business, economic and consumer trends. The Forecast Study also provides dollar and unit volume projections in key c-store product categories.