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Snacks Boasting Health & Convenience Are Fast Growing

NEW YORK — Snacks that incorporate health, convenience or better yet both are among the fastest-growing in sales, according to recent Nielsen research.

While dollar sales of snacking products increased 3.2 percent during the 52 weeks ended June 27, 2015, the various snack segments are not benefiting in equal measure. While traditionally indulgent, easy-to-consume snacks such as chocolates, crackers, ice cream, cookies and chips dominated sales during this time period, their growth rate is slowing. 

Meanwhile, sensibly indulgent products that include built-in portion control, such as mini-brownies, have grown by double digits. Healthier alternatives, such as Greek yogurt and fresh-cut fruit, are also among the most profitable snacks and combined for more than $6 billion in sales. This marks a combined growth rate of 8.4 percent, or nearly $450 million, over the previous year.

Many of today's fast-growing snacks have health as a key component, but health benefits do not always guarantee big sales. For instance, dollar sales of produce items such as bananas, grapes and apples fell over the past year.

Products that incorporate health and convenience, including popped popcorn, health bars and mandarins, grew dollar sales by double digits. These snacks are convenient and portable.

The popularity of products like hummus have helped boost sales of complementary snacks as well. Nielsen total store connectivity research shows that sales of deli dips and spreads are strongly correlated to sales of deli snacks like crackers, explaining the double-digit growth rate of both products.

Still, not all products and brands within these segments are necessarily seeing the same trends, and success requires the right value proposition and correct execution of pricing, promotion and distribution of items across the store. Due to limited space, one item's success often comes at the expense of another across the aisle, Nielsen stated.

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