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5 ways to boost snack sales


Photos by Brandon Gray

Consumers are often looking for something quick to tide them over between meals, and the c-store is often the go-to destination to fill this need. Retailers can build on the excitement around bestselling snacks like potato chips, tortilla chips and nuts by also stocking innovation that captures emerging trends.

Snacks are growing and continue to be one of the most shopped categories in the convenience channel. In fact, snacks ranks third in sales among the top convenience and gas categories (excluding alcohol and tobacco) with $169,714,713 in sales (Nielsen MarketTrack, National C&G – 52 Weeks ending December 15, 2012).

Innovation drives sales in the c-store channel, and retailers can make the most of them by understanding the current snacking trends and stocking the right SKUs for their customers. For example, some emerging trends include a bigger “Better for You” segment with consumers showing a preference for brands such as Smartfood Popcorn, Lays Kettle Cooked chips and Quaker Granola bars in this channel.

Potato chips still represent the biggest sub-category within salty snacks, with a 55% share, so striking a balance between bestsellers and newcomers is key (Nielsen MarketTrack, National C&G – 52 Weeks ending December 15, 2012).

Ethnic flavours and spicier options that cater to the changing Canadian population are also becoming more popular. Ethnic flavours may not work in every c-store, but there is a growing consumer preference for these in other channels in certain areas, which could be applied in a c-store environment with some zip-code targeting.

Displays are the best way to promote trends and drive snack sales. Showcase innovation front and centre and let your customers know when a new product is available for trial.

When displaying innovation, it’s important to always anchor that display with bestsellers. For example, if you have a four-sided merchandiser, it’s a good idea to use two sides to display innovation and the other two to display the top two SKUs on the market. This balance will ensure your display is capturing the customers who want to try something new as well as those who prefer to stick with their favourites.

Another important tool to boost sales is bundling, which can help increase co-purchase incidence and drive up that all-important basket size. Single-serve drinks and single-serve salty snacks are an obvious bundling opportunity, but it needs to be highly visible. Providing an incentive to purchase both, including two-for deals or a standard bundling price, would go even further in driving sales.

By showcasing innovation and increasing bundling options, retailers can drive sales and build a loyal snacking customer base.

Source: Sree Rajagopalan, senior sales strategy manager, PepsiCo Foods Canada

Top tips for boosting snack sales:

1. Focus on innovation. New flavours, formats and SKUs entice shoppers to try something new.

2. Balance your displays. Displays should be prominent, and strike a balance between innovation and bestsellers.

3. Know your “never-out SKUs”. Customers are loyal to the bestselling SKUs, so be aware of the top SKUs’ inventory levels.

4. Promote bundling opportunities. Encourage your customers to try something new by promoting a bundle or two-for deal with POS materials from

5. Work with your rep. Supplier reps are on the cutting edge when it comes to innovation. Learn about trends and determine what will work in your store.