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Alternative Ingredient Snacks Woo Customers

June 9, 2017

Consumers’ quest for healthier snack options is changing the face of traditional c-store offerings.

A new national study by Amplify Snack Brands and the Center for Generational Kinetics indicates Millennials have been the driving force behind the growth of the better-for-you snack category.

Among the findings, 64% of Millennials—more than any other generation—believe that fewer ingredients mean a snack is healthier. In addition, 79% of Millennials said that understanding all the ingredients increases their level of trust in a packaged snack.

This trend has created a thriving market for so-called alternative ingredient snacks—those made using vegetables and grains such as chickpeas, sweet potatoes, kale and spinach, as well as pulses (including dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, lentils, Bambara beans, vetches and lupins).

Indeed, according to Packaged Facts, sales of alternative ingredient snacks in 2017 are forecasted to reach $1.2 billion.

For the second consecutive year, alternative snacks, a category driven by protein- and energy-rich items, reached the top 10 in-store merchandise categories, also signaling a desire by consumers for immediate/healthier snacking options.

The growth of variety in the sub-category has understandably resulted in slowed sales for some traditional snacks. For instance, for the 52-week period ending Feb. 19, 2017, market research firm Information Resources Inc. (IRI) reported that c-store sales of snack nuts surpassed $618 million, a dip of 1.19% from the previous year. Sunflower and pumpkin seed sales totaled $314 million, a 3.63% decline during the same period.

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