More and more Americans are eating smaller portions of food more frequently throughout the day, and there is universal agreement in the food industry that this mega-trend is here to stay. This tendency is especially evident during the morning daypart, where on-the-go meal sales are surging.
What’s also increasing is sales of breakfast and snack bars, which offer consumers an immediate, portable boost of energy for just around $1. The proof is in the numbers. According to IRI, sales of breakfast bars jumped 7.48% to $173.17 million for the 12 months ending Jan. 6, 2016.
Kellogg Co., the maker of treats including Special K and Nutri Grain bars, is far and away the category leader in breakfast bar sales. IRI reported that Kellogg’s cereal bar sales increased 8.27% in 2015 to $115.40 million. The company sold more than 104 million units, or nearly three out of every four bars sold, at convenience stores for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 6. General Mills was the second-leading manufacturer of cereal bars tallying $44.81 million in sales.
WHY SALES ARE STRONG
A cultural shift that adds fuel to a hot healthy-ingredient snacks market is the high priority placed by many adult consumers on making sure that the food they—and their kids—eat passes nutritional muster.
A report by Packaged Facts clarified how these consumer trends are converging to produce a new generation of snackers attracted by the “health halo” surrounding healthy-ingredient snacks.
The healthy-ingredient snacks market is marked by a continuous quest on the part of both marketers and consumers for the next best product offering. The market has a continuous flow of new products, based on inventive flavor combinations and innovative formats and shapes, including the portability bars offer.
Marketers of healthy-ingredient snacks take full advantage of the health-halo effect, a phenomenon that leads consumers to perceive that food products with certain claims, such as “organic” and “natural,” are healthier or safer for them. Healthy-ingredient snacks often carry labeling that sets them apart, sporting characteristics such as non-GMO, vegan or organic.
In 2016, convenience store owners should note this trend as they stock the snack aisle.
This move towards snacking with a health benefit is also being driven by the youngest generations—Generation Z, ages 0-23, Millennials, ages 24-37, and Generation X, ages 38-48, which together amount to the bulk of the population. Boomers, a large number of whom have health conditions, tend to watch for sodium and sugar content in snacks.
“Snacking today is a prevalent behavior and there is an opportunity in every snack category for manufacturers to call out the specific health benefits—from desirable ingredients to clean labeling,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for the NPD Group. “There is also a generational slant to take into account for each category when positioning and marketing snack foods.”
Stay tuned to Convenience Store Decisions‘ March issue, where we delve into 38 in-store categories to identify emerging trends and garner retailer analysis to forecast what operators can expect for 2016 and beyond.