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What’s On Trend For 2019? Meat Snacks.

January 9, 2019

Meat Snacks continue their explosive growth, averaging 7+% growth per year for the past 5 years, and is projected to hit $3 Billion in 2018. Meat Snack growth is in the top 5% of all food category growth in retail stores. Meat Snacks remain the top seller in c-store alternative snacks, with sales racking up more than double that of health, energy and protein bars. In the 52 weeks ending on September 22nd, 2018 meat snacks sales in convenience stores totaled over $1.5 billion, a 3.6% increase from the same period in 2017, according to Nielsen.

Meat Snacks are up 30% in sales growth over the last 5 years.

Consumer lifestyle changes are one reason for Meat Snack growth. High protein, paleo, keto and mediterranean diets are popular. There are 35 million

households with at least one person on a diet. Claims fueling the growth are all natural preservatives, and clean label ingredients.

Meat Snacks are growing +1.1% in Northwest convenience store market this year. Harbor Wholesale Meat Snacks growth is +6.0%, six times the growth of NW
Convenience. Most notably, consumers are switching to larger sized packages. For example, standard (3-5 oz.) size jerky sales declined ($783,555) in the Northwest, while large and extra-large (>5.0 oz.) jerky/sticks grew +$1.2 million! Large and extra-large sizes now represent 28% of jerky sales, which is double from a few years ago. Popular large size products on the Harbor schematic include Oberto 9 oz. jerky and Old Trapper 10 oz. jerky. These items are a great way to increase basket ring in the store.

American households spend an average of $25.81 per year on meat snacks. Their pre-trip spend on sticks and jerky at $7.42 is also twice as much as it is on staples like potato chips, which are at $3.61, and popcorn, which totals $4.01, according to Nielsen. In terms of age groups, baby boomers are the biggest buyers, spending $28.48 per year, making them 10% more likely to buy meat snacks than the average shopper.

Meat Sticks grew +0.7% in the Northwest this year. Oberto Cocktail Pep and Smok-A-Roni are the top two selling stick items which can be merchandised either in a caddy or pegged, and have the highest dollar growth within Harbor Wholesale Meat Stick products. Slim Jim Monster 1.94 oz. items are highly ranked items that are growing in the Northwest and in the Harbor portfolio.

Bulk products account for 22% of sales dollars.

Bulk, or unwrapped jerky represents 22% of total meat snack sales. The Tillamook bulk program is the most popular modular floor display.
The Oberto Cocktail Pep acrylic counter top display is the highest volume at Harbor.

Spending in the Name of Love

February 8, 2018

Consumers will shell out a near-record $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average $143.56 on Valentine’s Day as 55% of the population celebrates this year, an increase from last year’s $136.57, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year. The numbers are the second-highest in the survey’s 15-year history, topped only by the record $146.84 and $19.7 billion seen in 2016.

“Americans are looking forward to pampering and indulging their loved ones with flowers, candy, dinner and all of the other Valentine’s Day stops,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, in a press release. “With the holidays behind them and the winter months dragging along, consumers are looking for something to celebrate this time of year.”

This year’s survey found consumers plan to spend an average $88.98 on their significant other/spouse ($12.1 billion), $25.29 on other family members such as children or parents ($3.5 billion), $7.26 on children’s classmates/teachers ($991 million), $7.19 on friends ($982 million), $5.50 on pets ($751 million) and $4.79 on co-workers ($654 million). Those between the ages of 25 and 34 will be the biggest spenders at an average of $202.76.

Those celebrating Valentine’s Day plan to spend $4.7 billion on jewelry (given by 19%), $3.7 billion on an evening out (35%), $2 billion on flowers (36%), $1.9 billion on clothing (17%), $1.5 billion on gift cards/gift certificates (15%) and $894 million on greeting cards (46%). More consumers plan on purchasing candy this year, with 55% (up from 50%) saying they will give gifts of candy for a total of $1.8 billion.

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Protein Powers Snack Sales

January 15, 2018

More and more, meat snacks are demonstrating their allure with consumers.

Whether consumers are choosing them to get a convenient boost of protein or to quell between-meal hunger pangs, meat snacks in a growing variety of forms and flavors are continuing to climb the ranks in the on-the-go snack category.

As of July 1, 2017, meat snacks generated $1.4 billion in c-stores, a hike of 3.2% over the previous year, reported Nielsen Co. in its Total U.S. Convenience Channel View.

For the 52 weeks ending Sept. 9, 2017, Nielsen revealed that meat snacks are a 9% share of the on-the-go snacking category within the convenience channel, growing at a rate of 5% or $547 million over the past year. That’s an impressive increase, especially because total on-the-go snacking rose 1.2%, said Carl Elliott, Nielsen’s director of convenience retail.

Elliott pointed out that meat snacks are the third most important on-the-go snack category in the convenience channel with a 14% share, the same share as salty snacks, and trailing only confections and baked goods.

“Meat snacks have an advantage because 39% more food items with ‘high protein’ claims are selling now vs. four years ago,” said Elliott. “The health halo over meat snacks makes this category a great one for the convenience channel because 44.2% of consumers are willing to pay a premium price at the convenience store for a more healthful snack.”

A March report from Nielsen showed that jerky had a particularly strong year, showing a sales growth of nearly 7%. At the same time, stick sales were flat.

Those are the trends that category manager Ian Stewart has seen at Gassaway, W. Va.-based Go-Mart stores. But the big story at Go-Mart, which has 23 stores in West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia, is the fact that meat snacks have become a high-ring item since a year ago when sales of 10-ounce bags of Oberto Cattleman’s Cut jerky in original, teriyaki and peppered steakhouse flavors caught fire.

“We were surprised at the success of the 10-ounce bag because we had tried to sell larger bags before and they didn’t go so well,” said Stewart. “We figured that the price points were too high.”

At an “everyday low price” of $11.99, the Cattleman’s Cut is still a high ring, but Stewart attributes at least part of the positive customer response to the attractiveness of the product in its see-through bag. The reduced price (the jerky retails for $15.99 on Oberto’s web shopping site) is part of a promotion with the manufacturer, one that Stewart is eager to continue into 2018.

According to a Nielsen Grocery/Convenience report for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 21, 2017, Stewart is not alone in seeing a surge in large-bag sales. Extra-large (XL) 10-12-ounce packages make up 23% of jerky sales and, reported a Nielsen Convenience year-to-date study ending Nov. 18, 2017, the three top growth brands are all packaged in clear, XL bags.

Ted Roccagli, director of partnerships and preferred vendor program for Empire Petroleum Partners, which services c-stores in 30 states and operates 80 of its own, agreed that large value clear bags are gaining in popularity, especially the 10-ounce packages from Cattleman’s Cut and Old Trapper. Brands like Chef’s Cut are also gaining momentum.

“Clear is what consumers are looking for,” Roccagli said. “They want to see exactly what they’re buying.”

BRINGING THE HEAT
As far as flavors go, heat sells, he said. Even the traditional sticks are getting sassy with spicy seasonings such as Tabasco and nacho.

At Go-Mart, customers are willing to try something new as long as it doesn’t stray too far from the familiar, Stewart said. A 10-ounce sausage stick from Cattleman’s Cut recently sold so well in Go-Mart stores during testing that it earned a place on the stores’ planogram, Stewart pointed out. He added that a pepperoni jerky recently debuted by Oberto will likely follow suit.

“But flavors like Korean BBQ are too far out for most of our customers,” Stewart said.
Anna Bettencourt, snack category manager for VERC Enterprises, with 26 stores (24 in southeastern Massachusetts, one in southern New Hampshire and one superette), thinks she played it a little too close to the vest when it came to meat snack forms and flavors in 2017. But she has a far different game plan in mind for 2018.

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3 Ethnic Cuisines Perfect for the Snacking Craze

December 18, 2017

How these popular ethnic cuisines could open the door to a wealth of snack options.

Three years ago in this very space, when we last discussed snacking, I talked about the “globalization” of snacks—the increasing tendency of consumer packaged goods (cpg) companies, in particular, to appropriate and redeploy different ethnic flavor profiles in their snack foods.

Three years is practically a lifetime in the snacking world, where consumer behaviors and preferences are in a constant flux. And yet, based on all available evidence, the global-snacking trend continues to gather steam. Credit goes to those ever-adventurous millennials and their younger Gen-Z counterparts, whose restless palates are constantly yearning for new, different, and memorable flavors.

Three cuisines in particular—Moroccan, Ethiopian, and South American (not actually one cuisine, but many)—appear to be ripe for discovery and reinvention. I’ll take each in turn.

Moroccan Can you imagine pulling up to your preferred fast-food drive-thru window and ordering food in which the flavor profile skews North African? Perhaps not today, but based on the buzz surrounding Moroccan cuisine these days, the prospect doesn’t seem that outlandish or far-fetched. Indeed, at this past summer’s Fancy Food Show, Moroccan food was billed as one of the top 10 food trends.

Moroccans have historically favored fruits and vegetables, unrefined olive oil, rice, and couscous, along with a potent, flavorful mix of sweet and savory spices that includes saffron, cinnamon, fennel, anise, and cloves. Among the local delicacies are chebakia—strips of fried dough coated in a honey-rosewater syrup and topped with sesame seeds—and bastilla, which is a pastry-covered ground meat entrée that could be reconceived as a handheld snack suitable for any daypart. With a liberal dose of cinnamon contributing to the sweet-savory taste profile, bastilla—with a distinctly Western twist—could be a winner for the chain or concept that elects to develop interesting variations on the theme.

Beyond meat and pastry, Moroccans also enjoy savory vegetables with interesting flavor profiles that can be turned into dips and spreads, like cauliflower with harissa or smoked eggplant sweetened with date sugar or date syrup. It’s not hard to envision a health-conscious chain offering snacks such as fried cauliflower florets with dipping sauces; baked or fried legume chips; or almond, cashew, and other nut butters on a pita.

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Meat Snacks Meet Expectations

December 11, 2017

While traditional snacking profiles still sway the meat snack category, America’s propensity for different options is spurring more variety.

It wasn’t that long ago that offers of meat snacks didn’t have a lot of variety to choose from—making for a category without much spice. That can make for a static category. However, as snack manufacturers are launching new flavors and product lines to capture consumers’ imagination convenience stores are capturing more meat snack sales.

The average U.S. consumer enjoys meat snacks about 10 times a year—significantly more than the eight times that consumers were purchasing meat snacks in 2012, said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for the NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm.

“That increase actually makes it one of the fastest-growing savory snacks out there,” said Seifer. “Savory snack foods are growing as consumers become increasingly concerned about their sugar consumption.”

Meat snacks fit well within that trend, including the popularity of such brands as Slim Jim and Jack Link’s.

Consumer research firm Mintel Group Ltd. found one of the most notable innovations in the category is the launch of higher-quality meat snacks in response to customer interest.

A Mintel survey conducted this past summer indicated 41% of consumers would like to see more meat snacks made from premium meat cuts. Twenty-eight percent of those polled found appealing the idea of grass-fed meat snacks and almost as high a percentage—26%—like the notion of preservative-free products. Along with these trends has come growth in the number of meat snacks free of additives like hormones, and the number claiming humanely-raised ingredients.

Another noteworthy trend is that more than a quarter of consumers surveyed (27%) expressed an interest in purchasing meat snack bars, according to Mintel.

CUSTOMER PREFERENCE
While traditional meat snack offerings still have the upper hand at Portland, Ore.-based Plaid Pantry, the growth of new meat snack options has been steady, said Tim Cote, Plaid Pantry’s vice president of marketing.

“The consumer profile varies a bit by brand,” said Cote. “Many of the newer entries into the market have flavor profiles and bite types that appeal to a broader base of customers than the more established brands. Many of the older bands are more male dominated. And while they pull sales from all age groups, the newer brands do skew a bit younger.”

Seifer agreed that meat snack purveyors are responding to snack fans’ desire to try something new.

“Consumers are always asking, ‘What else do you have for me?’” said Seifer. “So it’s not a surprise more flavors are being introduced. While the traditional flavor was cured beef, now we’re seeing habanero and sriracha. A lot of the new flavors I’m seeing are about spiciness and boldness, and giving the snack a new kick.”

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When It Comes to Protein, North Americans Still Flock to Meat

November 17, 2017

When it comes to protein, nearly half of consumers eat a form of protein with every meal. For one-fifth of consumers in both the U.S. and Canada, plant-based proteins like legumes, seeds and nuts are among their preferred sources of protein. However, animal protein from meat, such as chicken, beef, turkey, pork and seafood, ranks first, which aligns with the fact that consumers in both countries spend more than half of their protein dollars on animal protein.

In fact, many consumers associate eating animal protein with being healthy. According to a recent consumer survey in the U.S. and Canada, many of those surveyed believe unprocessed meat is good for you, and more than a third say people who don’t consume animal proteins are missing out on certain nutrients.

Aside from the perceived health benefits, retailers and meat producers also need to understand how the price tag affects consumption. This is particularly important when prices fluctuate. Looking back to the first quarter of 2017 in the U.S., fresh meat was one of the top categories contributing to price deflation, or the reduction of general prices in the economy. Dollars sales declined (with exception of turkey and lamb sales in Canada), while volume sales continue to rise. This indicates that consumers are capitalizing on lower prices to satisfy their animal protein preferences.

Americans’ Purchase Behavior for Animal Protein

In the U.S., overall dollar growth for fresh meat categories declined 2% in the latest 52 weeks ended July 1, 2017, while volume rose 2%. Volume sales of fresh beef and turkey increased 6% and 1%, respectively. Chicken consumption remained flat, while consumption of pork and lamb declined in volume (down 3% and 2%, respectively). Fresh seafood, a top contributor to inflation, declined 2% in overall volume, despite dollar growth within prepared crustaceans (5%), prepared fish (4%) and shrimp (3%).

Regardless of pricing pressures, Americans’ growing focus on transparency indicate significant growth opportunities for products with healthy attributes. Within the lunch meat category, for example, products that are antibiotic and hormone free, as well as those with no artificial preservatives, are driving significant volume, according to Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight.

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Candy And Snack Trends for 2018

November 8, 2017

By: Melissa Molnar, Digital Marketing Specialist

The candy and snack aisles are staples in any C-store, so how can you make your aisles stand out from the competition? Staying on top of snacking trends is a great way to differentiate your stock of these products. Harbor’s Category Manager for Candy & Snacks, Angela, recently attended NACS and shared what is happening in this category. The big trends impacting candy & snacks in 2018 are spicy and sweet, clean label, and surprise egg collectibles.

The spicy and hot candy trend began with Hot Tamales, last year Butterfinger released spicy cups, and the spicy trend is continuing in 2018. Palettes are continuously changing in the United States, and currently spicy foods are what’s hot. Customers looking to add some heat to their candy will welcome products like new Skittles Sweet Heat that add a kick to a classic candy. Skittles Spicy Sweet are available through Harbor in the December Retail Solutions book for pre-order.

   

 

Collectibles have been a huge trend over the last two years for kids, and now this trend is coming to a candy aisle near you. Both Kinder and Bazooka have begun offering surprise egg candies. They contain a toy, carefully sealed of course, and a delicious chocolate treat for both kids and adults to enjoy. Bazooka Toy Surprise also has Frozen, Peppa Pig and Star Wars options. Kinder Surprise Eggs and Bazooka Toy Surprise are perfect for the customer with a sweet tooth looking to add some fun to their candy consumption!

                                         

 

Clean-label was a popular trend in 2017, and this trend will still be important in 2018. Customers are constantly seeking healthier options for their snacks, are more aware of their calorie counts, and the less ingredients in a product the better. Classic snacks like potato chips have become healthier with Kettle Brand Chips, plus these are gluten free. For customers looking to snack on the go, Sahale Bars and Nature Valley XL Protein are easy to transport and are full of healthy flavors. Healthy offerings will keep regular customers happy and bring new customers into your store.

                  

Spicy & Sweet, Clean Label and Surprise Egg Collectibles are just some of the most exciting things happening in the convenience store candy and snack aisles. Harbor currently has many offerings that fall into these categories, and can help you get the best product selection into your store for your customers.

Despite Concerns Consumers Continue Sugar Consumption

October 6, 2017

Market place isn’t “one-size fits all” NPD Group report shows.

More than 50% of U.S. adults and teens report that they’re trying to consume less sugar, according to the NPD Group. However, old habits die hard.

With the average person consuming almost three times the recommended amount of sugar every day, or what amounts to 66 pounds of sugar per person annually, it’s not an easy habit to break. The workaround for many consumers is to decide what they’re really willing to give up and then they keep some sweet choices in their diets.

The decision on what to keep and what not to keep eating in terms of sugary foods varies by generations with some acting on their concern and others just saying their concerned but not acting on it, according to NPD’s “Impact of Sugar Concern on Consumption Behavior: What We Say vs. What We Do” report. Older Boomers and Silent G.I.’s, who may be managing diabetes or other illnesses, are an example of a generation that is cutting out more sweet foods from their diets.

When deciding which sugary foods to keep in or out of their diets consumers tend to separate them into categories, like more healthful versus indulgent sugary foods, finds the NPD study, which looks at the impact of consumer choice on 40 different sweet foods and beverages. Cola drinks and fruit juices both contain a fair amount of sugar. Consumers are more likely to cut back on cola drinks than fruit juices because they feel that juice has more nutritional benefits and the sugar is naturally occurring.

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Increasing Impulse Sales

October 4, 2017

Take a look at your counter. What products do you have placed there? Are they items that would be considered ‘impulse purchases’? Stocking impulse items near high-traffic areas is a great way to increase sales. Consider what customers see first when entering your store, or when they may be headed to the checkout. All of these store locations are great places to strategically place impulse items.

Also think about customers that may be more prone to impulse sales. Do you have parents stopping in with their children? Do most people stop in for lunch when they may want something sweet? Some great examples of impulse items include ice cream, soda, candy, and even medicine. Placing candy and bottled soda in highly visible areas is a great way to catch the customer with a sweet-tooth. Placing medicine in high traffic areas caters to the customers who may not want to be caught without benadryl or ibuprofen. Impulse products customers may have a craving for, or forget they even needed, can easily be turned into sales.

Want to learn more?

5 Ways To Drive Impulse Sales Of Candy And Snacks

The Crave For Confections

Packaged Beverage Sales Flow

6 Tips For Boosting Snack Sales

How Are BFY Trends Affecting C-Store Candy Sets?

October 4, 2017

The clean-snacking mindset is no longer just a fad. As consumers have grown more interested in what they’re eating, from product ingredient lists to sourcing to other free-from attributes, many areas of the candy industry are starting to reflect this clean-snacking philosophy. In Packaged Facts Chocolate Candy in the U.S., 11 Edition report, the Rockville, Md.-based research firm explores the proliferation of products in the marketplace, including bite-sized snacking chocolate in thins and barks, fruit and chocolate snacks, high cacao dark chocolate and other new clean-label products.

“The clean snacking consumer will eat sweet snacks but looks carefully at the type of sweetener, origin of ingredients, and presence of additives, and then optimizes among the available choices,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “Ongoing research on the many health benefits of dark chocolate opened the floodgates of clean snackers who can enjoy dark chocolate as a health food.”

Click through to see more trends, as well as related products, that are helping to define the clean-eating and clean-label confection movement.

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