Salty snack sales have grown in the c-store space despite out-of-stocks. 2023 is expected to continue the trend with innovations and exploration into popular flavors.
“Spicy continues to trend, which we do not anticipate going away with 2023,” said Rebecca Gregory, center store category manager, Weigel’s, which operates 73 stores in east Tennessee.
Randy Adams, category manager/buyer, Huck’s, agreed. “What I’m seeing … (for) most of 2022 and already going forward seems to be a trend toward hotter and more exotic-type flavors,” he said.
Adams noted the chili and lime flavor combination and Tajin are popular at Huck’s, which operates more than 100 stores in five states.
Additionally, Adams sees the rise of sweet and salty combinations. The subcategory is expanding so much he is considering taking four feet from the “take home” category space and creating a standalone sweet and salty section, which would include items such as Hershey’s Dipped Pretzels, Flipz and Chex Mix Muddy Buddies.
“LTOs (limited-time offers) are a hot item for us, something we take advantage of most frequently with Frito Lay’s offerings,” said Gregory.
Weigel’s also offers its private-label line BetterDay in its salty set.
“Private label has given my company the ability to pivot during stock issues, ensuring that our shelves remain full of items that our customers bring into their daily routines,” Gregory said.
As 2023 continues, Weigel’s plans to keep healthy options in mind, as well as keeping in stock a medley of items that are on trend — whether they are better-for-you (BFY), indulgent or packed with flavor.
Huck’s also had supply issues, but Adams noted that salty snacks was one of the least affected categories.
For 2023, Weigel’s anticipates a boom in sales for salty snacks, as the category is a “powerhouse” for its center store. Gregory believes salty snacks can grow by 15-20% due to careful consideration, promotional planning and partnerships.
Adams expects salty snack sales in 2023 to be flat, although only because the category was up double digits during the COVID pandemic, and it is now measuring against those inflated numbers. “I think the salty (category) will take a little bit of a hit,” he said. “I expect us to be flat or at the most, a 1% or 2% increase over (2022).”