As consumers shift from a single retailer to multiple formats to save money and accommodate busy lifestyles, pharmacies and convenience stores are well-positioned to capitalize on the salty snack market, said Mintel's 2016 US Salty Snacks Report. Offering convenient packaging and new flavor options can allow retailers to drive sales of these snacks, said Amanda Topper, Mintel senior food analyst.
Seventy percent of convenience store shoppers buy salty snacks to lift their spirits, according to a poll by General Mills' Convenience & Foodservice Division. Nearly half of consumers ate the snacks within 15 minutes of purchase, and 95% of those surveyed snack alone. Retailers can respond with offerings to reflect the main snacking groups: salty, healthy, bold, and sweet and salty, the study said.
Consumers are turning to food retailers in addition to quickservice restaurants for prepared foods and snacks, as supermarkets and convenience stores increasingly offer wide selections of prepared and ready-to-eat foods, according to a report from NPD Group. Grocers hold a significant market share in the chicken, side dish and salad categories, while convenience stores excel in coffee, snacks, breakfast, soft drinks and Mexican foods, the report found.
General Mills has broken down convenience store shoppers into four segments based on attitudes, behaviors and needs to help retailers make better product selections. Breakfast Barons are focused on breakfast offerings, Vice Squaders are older, late-night shoppers, Pit Stoppers make quick stops for gas, the restroom or ATM, and Meals and More shoppers are young urbanites seeking hot, fresh meals and indulgent snacks. The findings were based on a 2014 online survey of nearly 3,200 convenience-store shoppers ages 18 to 64.
Iowa-based convenience store chain Kum & Go was the first to try out the new "On The Road Again" cooler from Coca-Cola last August when it tested the merchandising solution in five of its markets. Now, the chain is looking to roll out the end-cap coolers aimed at impulse buyers at more of its 400 U.S. convenience stores. "Kum & Go experienced significant incremental growth on the items featured in the OTRA. [The] Kum & Go-owned brand of salty snacks saw increases of approximately 50%, with beverages and candy experiencing significant incremental increases also," said category manager Richard Ginther.