Skip to main content

Path to purchase for candy and snacks is changing



With consumers snacking multiple times a day with no limitations as to what they constitute as a "snack," and purchasing their snacks from multiple sources, the industry is in the midst of a revolution — one that won't be short-lived, according to two IRI experts.

During an Eye-Opener Session at the recent 2019 Sweets and Snacks Expo, Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader, client insights, IRI, noted that today's snackers are multidimensional and have different intentions for snacking.

The traditional paths to purchase — planned and impulse — are still important. However, there are two additional paths on their way to prominence: on-demand and experiential.

"The average consumer still snacks 2.7 times per day, and snacking three-plus times a day has increased in the last four years. … This is good news for people in this room," Lyons Wyatt pointed out during the session entitled "State of the Industry: Snacks Rule Center Store."

Consumers' increase in snacking, as well as them choosing the four different pathways to purchase them, is resulting in multiple trends. Chief among them: holistic health progression.

"We've seen solid increases for products that boast relevant claims, such as functional and dietary: 57% of consumers want snacks that contain vitamins and minerals, while 49% view snacks as an important part of their eating plain," Lyons Wyatt said. "If these products aren’t a part of your set, please make it so they are."

Another trip-driver trend is snackers' desire for plant-based options. This segment has experienced 19% dollar sales growth and a 20% increase in unit sales to $188 million in sales, thanks to these items' tailwind and mobility, the IRI executive noted.

Still, at their core, snack buyers remain committed to three key attributes when it comes to what snack(s) they'll purchase:

Flavor: A whopping 89% of consumers want a snack with a flavor they prefer, while 92% seek out products with a taste they enjoy.

Packaging: A product's packaging not only says a lot about the brand that manufactured it, but also about the retailer who carries it. Product packaging communicates to consumers what they’re looking for in snacks, such as transparency and sustainability, as well as a brand story.

Influencers: More than a quarter of consumers (37%) are influenced at checkout by product assortment, signage, price and available offers through a retailer's loyalty or rewards program.


Along with the snacking industry, the confectionery business is experiencing its own set of changes.


Three key confectionery themes emerged last year: experiential (think indulgent, sensorial and exciting), expectation (think flavor, texture and familiarity) and simplicity (think healthy, convenient and natural). Driven by these themes, 2018 was defined by expansive growth in confectionery products that highlighted such attributes as:

  • Non-GMO Project verified

  • Organic

  • Gluten free

  • Fair trade

Originally published at Convenience Store News. 

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds