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Summertime Snacking Heats Up

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The summer months represent an especially strong opportunity for retailers to capitalize on consumer snacking trends, as families take to the road and participate in picnics and other outdoor activities where packaged snacks play an important role.

Retailers can drive increased sales of snacks during this time of year through promotion and in-store marketing activities, but it all starts with having the right product mix to appeal to the diverse needs and preferences of today’s shoppers.

Snacking has become increasingly important eating occasion for consumers. They nosh between meals for a variety of reasons—satisfying hunger is obviously one of the primary drivers of snacking behavior, but consumers also snack to reward themselves, to try new foods and flavors, or to help them meet specific nutritional goals.

Consumers are eating an average of 2.8 between-meal snacks per day, and are often using snacks to replace regular meals, according to Technomic’s 2018 Snacking Occasion report. Younger consumers in particular are consuming more packaged snacks, the report finds— among people between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, 19% say they are purchasing more packaged snacks from retail than they were two years ago. In addition, 31% of the consumers in this age group are eating three or more between-meal snacks per day, compared to just 18% of those ages 35 and older who snack that often.

Meeting multiple goals

For many consumers, snacking can be a source of both indulgence and mindful eating. They want a treat that delivers interesting, exciting or comforting flavors while at the same time meeting their goals around the intake of nutrients and simple ingredient formulations.

Foods that combine indulgent flavors with natural, organic or healthful ingredients, such as granola bars featuring peanut butter or chocolate, fit perfectly in this modern snacking environment. Examples include the Nature Valley Layered Bar from General Mills, made with simple ingredients including nut butter, granola, whole nuts and chocolate, and Cascadian Farm’s Sweet & Salty Chewy Bars, made with granola and nuts, and dipped in dark chocolate.

Yogurt is another product that rises to the top in terms of summer snacking opportunities, for both children and adults and as a snack for any time of day. New products such as Yoplait’s YQ line, which offers a high-protein, less-sweet alternative to traditional yogurt, taps into consumer demands for both nutrition and flavor. For kids, hand-held yogurt snacks such as Go-GURT provide a nutritious snack alternative they can enjoy in an increasing variety of flavors, including flavors inspired by Sour Patch Kids candy.

Other popular summer snacks include seeds, nuts, trail mix, salty snacks and meat snacks, the latter of which have become especially popular as consumers have gravitated to varieties with clean labels and interesting flavors.

The beverage category also draws increased interest from consumers in the summer, opening up cross-promotional and cross-merchandising possibilities for snack foods. While 41% of consumer snack occasions involve only food, 42% involve both a food and a beverage, according to the Technomic Snacking Occasion report.

Food retailers are competing with foodservice outlets, convenience stores and other channels for a share of the summer snacking opportunity. The right product mix, combined with the right promotions and in-store marketing, will help capture more sales from today’s snacking consumers.

This post is sponsored by General Mills

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