Nuts and seeds both typify and reflect Americans’ growing obsession with health, which positions them for success throughout 2022 and beyond.
While prices have risen due in part to the pandemic, and will likely continue to rise, consumers are expected to adjust to the increases, given their demand for the category.
Snack nut sales totaled almost $591 million, a 9.6% increase for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 26, 2021, according to convenience channel data from IRI.
Leading brands were Planters, just shy of $155 million, up 11.9%; Wonderful, nearly $118 million, up 33.3%; Blue Diamond, over $49.5 million in sales, up 15.3%; and Nut Harvest, with sales of $42.3 million, down 8.8%.
Sunflower/pumpkin seed sales topped $267 million and rose by 8.2% for the period. Leading brands included David at $92.3 million, a gain of 13.2%, and Bigs, with sales of $70.5 million, up 25.6%. Toasted corn nut snacks saw sales of just under $52 million, a gain of 12.7%.
Nissan Koroghli, a 7-Eleven franchisee with one store in Las Vegas, said he finds success with the chain’s proprietary nut line, as well as traditional favorite Planter’s.
“More people are buying them because people are trying to eat healthy,” Koroghli pointed out.
Peanuts, pistachios and cashews all move briskly from the four-foot wall section devoted to nuts. Sunflower seeds are also popular, led by Spitz’s Dill Pickle seeds.
Price Points Rise
Koroghli said both lines of products are growing more expensive in Las Vegas as they are around the country. Price points have risen since the pandemic to $1.99 and even $2.29.
“There is nothing we can do; that’s the way of life right now,” he said. “Eating healthy is so expensive.”
Caitlin Campbell, media relations specialist for Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, said that despite the higher prices, Americans’ desire to eat healthier snacks is here to stay.
“Love’s thinks customers will continue to demand fresh and healthier food options in 2022,” Campbell said. “We’ll also continue to listen to customers’ feedback and add products they want.”
Martin Kruse of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies suggested that the impact from climate change may be slowly changing consumer habits and causing prices of items such as nuts to go even higher in 2022 and beyond.
“Increasingly, nuts production may come into focus, and with higher tariffs on water, producer countries may change,” Kruse said. “As an example, almond production in California is a high water-intense production. If drought becomes an issue, consumers may turn away from too-intensive production. The overall increase in the use of nuts may, however, swallow up any decline, so the net result of the two trends evens out.”