Potato chips are the stars of the salty snack category in convenience stores, accounting for over $1.7 billion in sales, according to a Nielsen research report covering the 52-week period ending Feb. 27, 2021. And that’s during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their variety, versatility and compatibility with a wide range of foods and beverages make them a natural meal and snack accompaniment and partner for sales-building promotions.
During the pandemic, large, sharable-size bags took center stage over single-serving bags in c-stores as fewer consumers stopped for on-the-go lunch and snacks.
Now, with the recent increase in people returning to work, school and their daily routines, individual-sized bag sales are reflecting the rebound in grab-and-go and made-to-order foodservice.
The chip category is constantly expanding with new flavors hitting the shelves and capturing consumer tastebuds. Flavor profiles range from sweet barbecue to savory salt and vinegar to spicy sriracha.
Retailers should take a cue from customer preferred flavor profiles in other foodservice and snack foods categories to identify whether their shoppers are traditionalists or adventurous in their tastes. New flavors can be featured as limited time offers (LTOs) to keep the assortment fresh and determine which ones earn a permanent place in the selection.
National brands are always popular, but many regional brands have garnered their own loyal fanbase. C-stores should carry a mix of both.
Cross merchandising is key. The ultimate grab-and-go snack, individual-sized bags of potato chips should be displayed at the cold dispensed fountain, soft drink coolers and beer caves. They also complement sandwiches, so they should be readily available at the ready-to-eat and made-to-order foodservice areas.
Individual-sized bags of chips make the perfect promotional partner for bundling with soft drinks and sandwiches as value-priced bundles. Larger bags can be attractively priced to offer a special perk to loyalty card users.