While snack trends tend to vary by geographical regions, a desire for new flavor and texture experiences, healthier products and guilt-free indulgence continue to trend across the country.
Salty snacks sales are at an all-time high in popularity after struggling during the first year of the pandemic. Customers are flocking back to the salty snack category as they return to life as usual, and one reason is the category’s expanding flavor selection, which adds excitement and resonates across demographics. Many retailers are also responding to any supply chain issues by plugging empty spots with other items, allowing local and smaller companies a chance to capture customer attention.
What’s more, salty snacks manufacturers are responding to consumer demands, including introducing natural ingredients, as well as reduced salt and gluten-free options to attract increasingly health-conscious customers. These additions to potato chip lines open the door to many chip fans, who could not partake in these delicious morsels before. But they also appeal to everyday customers who are looking to be a little bit healthier in the choices they make.
When it comes to candy, chocolate still leads the way. Trending chocolate items today include new varieties that use various textures to create a mouthfeel experience, such as Reese’s Potato Chips Big Cup. Non-chocolate candy is also seeing growth thanks to a surge in new products and flavors, and gum is trending up once again after struggling in the early days of the pandemic. Gum packaging has improved in recent years to include stay-fresh bottles that customers can keep in their car cup holder.
Snack cakes are a favorite of c-store shoppers, and the segment now features more flavors and larger varieties. The individually packaged snacks have especially resonated with sanitation-minded shoppers who have been appreciative of the single-serve packaging.
Meat snacks brands today feature both traditional and new flavors, and multiple forms from sticks to bars. They resonate with fans across demographics looking for a protein pick-me-up. Some retailers reported that shoppers are still purchasing bigger bags of jerky, a habit that formed during the beginning of the pandemic when customers were focused on stocking up on items.