Four Factors That Will Impact Future Development of the Snacking Category

Press enter to search
Close search
Open Menu

Four Factors That Will Impact Future Development of the Snacking Category

Nielsen Future of snacking

NEW YORK — The introduction of food-to-go, meal replacements and a myriad of social trends have influenced the way consumers think about food consumption and snacking.

In the third and final report of the Power of Snacking series, Nielsen identifies four key areas that are set to make the biggest impact on the future development of the snacking category. They are:

1. In-Store space

The space allocated to core snacking categories has evolved quickly. Over the last 5 years, there have been major changes to in-store space, like the introduction of front of store meal deal displays, the removal of unhealthy products from the tills, and the end to full gondola ends promoting a single brand or product.

Store space is continuously evolving and there are the two big trends that could revolutionize in-store snacking space: "snacker"-based merchandising and flexible weekday/weekend ranging.


Today’s shoppers are well-informed about all elements of a product or brand, with ratings and reviews becoming integral to the decision-making process. Shoppers not only want greater ownership and control over their service, they want instant results and a seamless process from decision making through to purchase and gratification, according to Nielsen.

The next level of technology that will shape the evolution of online grocery shopping and disrupt the path to purchase is everything-as-a-service technology, cutting down the decision -making process for the shopper and automating it.


The convenience channel has traditionally been the engine driving the snacking category, but is now having to work harder to differentiate itself against a mission also being catered for by large supermarkets and online.

As retailers and manufacturers look to the future, portfolio reviews will be critical to ensure the right mix of channels to withstand and capitalize on industry changes. This channel fragmentation presents an opportunity for snacking to promote wider ranges of convenient on-the-go snacks in large supermarkets and greater conversion of impulsive snacks in online baskets.


The snacking category has primarily been home for big brands, with the rate of innovation, depth of range and quality perception keeping the share gap moat between brands and own label. However, own label continues to be strategic for retailers and this is coming through in snacking with premium products that are helping to change the quality perception and helping them to take a valuable portion of the snacking aisle.

The speed of reaction means that brands need to continue to invest in innovation to stay ahead and to maintain their role at the fixture. Spotting trends early and being nimble will be crucial, Nielsen advises.

Requests for downloading the full report is available here.