The United States of Snacking


A snack attack is not what it used to be. A snack can now be a meal, and a meal can now include snack foods. Snacking is also not necessarily synonymous with less nutritious foods; in fact, “healthier” snacks constituting “mini-meals” are in greater demand than ever before.

The way the chairman of the Snack Foods Association, Mark Singleton, described it to Convenience Store News: “There has been a steady drop in meals prepared at home since the ‘60s. In a quick-paced world, consumers are turning to foods they can eat on the go.”

Singleton, who is also vice president of sales and marketing for Rudolph Foods, likewise said consumers are on the lookout for healthy indulgences that fall within their price point. “For many, convenience doesn’t have to contradict the healthy food trends that are shaping the food industry.”

Consumers want more from their snacks, according to Rod Troni, chief marketing officer at Snyder’s-Lance, maker of the Snyder’s of Hanover, Lance, Cape Cod, Pretzel Crisps and Late July snack brands. Even though indulgent snack sales still outpace healthier snack sales, he believes consumers are demanding more “better for you” alternatives to use as a transition between meals. 

“More and more, you’ll start to see companies position snacks as a meal bridge solution that offers a high level of convenience and support for consumers throughout the day,” Troni told CSNews. “For example, snacks can be an important way to hold us over between breakfast and lunch, or provide a quick pick-me-up when we hit that 3 p.m. slump at work. In those times, snacks supply the nourishment and energy needed to keep us going.”

The convenience channel is well-positioned for this age of snacking.

“This is a great time for convenience stores when it comes to snacks,” Troni added. “For people on the go, c-stores offer one of the fastest and easiest ways to pick up the snacks they need to bridge to the next meal.”

Click here to continue reading "The United States of Snacking" special feature, published in the May Convenience Store News Guide to Snacking.

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