On-The-Go Lifestyle Drives Snack Bar Growth

CHICAGO -- Snack bars have achieved broad appeal as a snack or meal replacement due to being convenient, portable and frequently better-for-you, according to research by The NPD Group. This has resulted in double-digit growth across foodservice channels.

Data from NPD's SupplyTrack shows that the dollar volume of snack bars shipped through broadline foodservice distributors to total foodservice outlets grew 15 percent and units shipped by 13 percent in the year ending November 2013 compared to same period one year ago. SupplyTrack is a monthly tracking service that codes, aggregates and tracks every product shipped from a critical mass of leading broadline distributors to each of their foodservice operators, while capturing information on categories, brands, items, product attributes and the operator segment.

"Snack bars meet the needs of today's on-the-go consumer who is looking for a convenient, nutritious snack or meal replacement," said Annie Roberts, vice president, NPD SupplyTrack. "Having an accurate picture of how snack bars are performing in the foodservice marketplace enables distributors, manufacturers, and operators to make better business decisions and best meet their consumer's needs."

Snack bar dollar volume sales increased the most at lodging establishments, which represent the largest share of the category's dollar sales, posting a 28-percent, 12-month increase through November, NPD stated. Additionally, total dollars of snack bars shipped to eating and drinking establishments, non-commercial channels and retail foodservice also increased by double digits during the same time period.

Cereal bars represent the largest dollar volume share of snack bar types and saw a double-digit gain in dollar sales and units shipped from broadline distributors to foodservice outlets. Granola and diet/health snack bars also saw a double-digit increase in dollars and units shipped more than a year ago.

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