Americans’ craving for salty snacks continues to climb. Dollar sales for the overall salty snacks category grew 6% for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2019, according to IRI convenience all scan data.
Salty snacks perceived as ‘better for you’ (BFY) are trending, but placement is key, as is being first on the street with new product innovation.
U.S. demand for salty snacks at the manufacturer level is forecast to reach $28.3 billion in 2022, according to Daniel Granderson, communications manager of market research firm Packaged Facts. Population growth and increasing disposable income levels are expected drive sales.
In 2020, look for consumers to continue to crave salty snacks as an indulgence, while marketers also offer new launches to appeal to a growing niche seeking BFY snacks.
“In our case, this is due mostly to improved service by direct-store-delivery (DSD) vendors,” said Mike Jackson, category manager for High’s convenience stores, a Baltimore, Md.-based chain of 49 c-stores serving the Mid-Atlantic region. High’s works hard to develop the ideal planograms to maximize sales.
“New flavor profiles and strong promotions have helped push sales even higher,” Jackson said. “On the warehouse salty-snack side, we have tried to bring in the new items as quickly as possible to help keep the planograms fresh and interesting, while relying on old staples to provide steady sales.”
The chain carries three DSD salty snack brands in its stores: one national, Frito-Lay, and two more local brands, Utz and Herr’s. All three offer core signature items and have done well at High’s for the past few years.
“I expect by continuing to fine-tune planograms, we will continue to see growth from these three brands in 2020,” Jackson said. “In warehouse salty snacks, the big sales are coming from Combos, Bugles, Cheez-It and Chex Mix. Some newer brands such as Paqui have done very well, also.”
Hold the Salt
For shoppers of all ages, salt is in danger of becoming “the new sugar — the ingredient everyone loves to hate,” said Ryan Mathews, founder and CEO of Black Monk Consulting. “So, low-sodium and lower-sodium snacks should gain share over time.”
Mathews urged retailers to think about ways to build variety into an otherwise salty category. “Do it with items like veggie chips, other than potatoes, whole-grain products and other items that let the shopper feel good about ‘eating healthy’ at the same time they are enjoying a snack.”
“Don’t fight the health-food trend,” he said. “Learn how to ride the wave.”