America’s sweet tooth is alive and well.
Garnering close to $2 billion in annual sales in the c-store channel, the sweet snack category is a diverse one. It encompasses granola and snack bars (for example, Luna, KIND, Larabar and Clif), snack cakes and prepackaged pastries, cookies, mini doughnuts and mini muffins.
Some sweet snack products, like granola bars, and snack bars, are viewed by many consumers as “better-for-you” choices for getting a quick energy boost any time of day because they contain natural and/or, organic ingredients. An increasing number are formulated to appeal to specific groups of consumers with labels touting the snack as being Keto-diet friendly, grain free, allergen free or no sugar added.
Even though the sweet snacks category took a hit in many markets during the pandemic, sales are expected to rebound at the time of this writing, with retailers expecting a full recovery as more consumers hit the road, go back to work and are looking for an easy, portable snack or meal replacement.
Recent research supports the constantly growing popularity of snacks. Close to three-quarters of millennials and Gen Z who participated in a recent study, commissioned by Coca-Cola, reported that they have increased their snacking occasions over the past year. Nearly half said they would walk over a mile to satisfy their cravings for a favorite snack.
Younger consumers tend to gravitate toward better-for-you snack bars to fuel their active lifestyles. Many also purchase these snacks for their children.
Snack cakes, pastries and cookies, on the other hand, are regarded as more of an indulgence or reward. They are often paired with a hot or cold beverage as a breakfast alternative or a pick-me-up during mid-morning break time. At lunchtime, they are likely to be purchased as a dessert to go with a sandwich, soup or salad.
Because of their compatibility with beverages, sweet snacks are the perfect grab-and-go items to display in the stores’ hot and cold dispensed beverage and cooler areas. Positioned near the deli and grab-and-go prepared foods areas, they suggest a sweet finish to a meal.