What I find the most compelling about SNAC International’s latest report was not about the move toward health, better ingredients or non GMO but rather their understanding of how the purchasing and consumption behaviors of consumers have changed. SNAC, formerly known as the Snack Food Association, is the leading international trade association for the snack industry.
“In the past, there were two ways consumers purchased and consumed snacks: planned and impulse. We have now identified two additional factors: on-demand and experiential," said Sally Lyons Wyatt, EVP and practice leader of client insights for Chicago-based IRI. “Producers must consider all four factors when innovating and marketing products.”
Getting snacks in the hands of consumers is vital. Producers must reach them in the places they frequent, such as airports and gyms. “Snacks are even showing up in the back of Ubers. Using your smartphone, passengers can purchase snacks in the tray and fulfill their craving while they ride,” said Jared Koerten, industry manager of food and nutrition for Euromonitor International, based in London.
Pop-up dining experiences offer a culinary adventure, engaging the consumer and increasing brand awareness. Similarly, snack availability generates more snacking occasions, increasing opportunity for more experiential snacking, which excites consumers and drives consumption. Limited-time offers and specialty branding can effectively create this experience.
Shelf-stable products are evolving to be fresher, and distribution models are allowing them to get directly to the consumer faster. On-the-go consumers don’t want to prepare meals after work. Innovation with fresh, “real food” options such as adult snack trays and combo packs can help producers compete.
Price, packaging and convenience all influence consumer choice. Price is the No. 1 factor guiding consumer shopping habits, according to IRI. Product labels and packaging ranked third.