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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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Snacks powered by protein

August 28, 2017

Protein-fortified foods are taking on many shapes and forms, and baked goods are no exception. Adding protein to grain-based foods appeals to consumers who may have left the category because of low-carbohydrate dieting. Protein fortification is also a way to differentiate in the crowded baked goods aisle by adding value to an important part of daily diets.

Peggy O’Shea Kochenbach, registered dietitian and vice-president of Cone Communications Protein, noted protein’s role in promoting satiety and preserving lean muscle mass, making it a hot ingredient trend. Because of availability, along with neutral color and flavor, whey and soy proteins have historically been the go-to source for many formulators. Today there are myriad other animal- and plant-derived proteins available. Some applications use a blend of them to pack more protein into a serving while maintaining an affordable price point.

“What was once a market driven by weight management and sports nutrition is now driven by consumers seeking to achieve personal fitness goals and support healthy lifestyles,” said Jean Heggie, strategic marketing lead for DuPont Nutrition & Health. “As the protein-fortified market moves mainstream, flavor and affordability become more important considerations, and that is what is driving the popularity of blending proteins.”

When prioritizing protein content claims, formulators often strive to develop a product that contains 20% of the daily value of 50 grams of protein, or 10 grams of protein per serving. These products can be described as “high” or “excellent” sources of the nutrient. Those with 10% to 19% of the daily value are “good” sources.

Today’s consumers are looking to the baked goods and snack food aisles — not the typical protein destinations — for products with enhanced protein, said Pat O’Brien, manager of strategic business development for Ingredion, Inc.

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Protein-Powered Profits

August 21, 2017

Convenience retailers hoping to stay in step with consumers’ changing preferences for meat snacks must do their due diligence.

By David Bennett, Senior Editor

A recent study from Nielsen Co. finds that sales of total-channel meat snacks, including jerky and convenience-packaged dry sausage sticks, has grown at the same time chip sales have slowed. Broken down, meat snack sales have increased 3.5% over the last year to $2.8 billion, according to Nielsen, with 7% compound growth over the last four years.

For convenience stores striving to stay in step with consumers’ changing snacking preferences, a little due diligence can go a long way in terms of increased sales.

In the 52 weeks ending May 14, 2017, convenience store dollar sales of dried meat snacks rose 2.9% to $1.53 billion compared to the previous year, while unit sales dipped 0.13%, according to data from Chicago research firm Information Resources Inc. (IRI).

One driver of rising sales is increasing demand from younger Americans who are putting more emphasis on snacking. More studies show that Millennials are less likely to sit down to full meals and more inclined to snack throughout the day so they’re seeking snacking options that will satiate them for extended periods.

“Millennials are increasing their spending on meat snacks faster than any other generation. That said, they’re still spending less per household than other generations,” said Jordan Rost, Nielsen’s vice president of North American consumer insights. “So there is room to grow penetration with younger consumers. Much of the growth areas within meat snacks pushing towards newer flavors and leaner, healthier proteins align well with the drivers of Millennial consumption so there’s lots of opportunity for future development there.”

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Salty Snacks’ Steady Influence

August 4, 2017

A staple of convenience stores, the salty snacks category remains relevant thanks to changing consumer tastes.

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Editor

Anyone worth their salt knows that chips and other crunchy, sodium-laden snacks are a big reason Americans love convenience stores. A quick visit to a c-store and consumers can load up on old-fashioned potato chips, newfangled veggie chips, pretzels, popcorn and other savory products that can be perfectly paired with an ice cold drink or a ready-made sandwich.

Not surprisingly, the salty snacks category continues to excel. From 2011 to 2016, category sales grew 30%, reaching an estimated total of $11.2 billion, reported Mintel Group’s “Executive Summary of Salty Snacks in the U.S.,” released this past April.
Sales are expected to continue increasing, to a level of about $13.6 billion by 2021, Mintel said. Propelling the overall sales growth in the salty snack category, is strong expansion of meat snacks and popcorn, followed by cheese snacks and corn snacks. Failing to carry their weight on the growth front are pretzels and pork rinds, Mintel found.

From his vantage point, Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives with the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), believes both old and new products and brands contribute to the ongoing robustness of the chips and salty snack category—still led by potato chips.

“There’s been significant growth in tortilla chips over the years with the considerable expansion of the Hispanic market. Within the chip category, we’re seeing that chips are not necessarily made from potatoes. Whether it’s carrots or onions, or other types of vegetables, these other chips may have a healthier halo, or at least a perception of a healthy halo,” said Lenard. “We’re also seeing other things on the outskirts, like sweet potatoes and kale. Another is Sriracha with coconut chips. The chip has gone way beyond the traditional potato or corn chip.”

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5 Ways to Drive Impulse Sales of Candy and Snacks

August 2, 2017

How can convenience retailers get customers to zero in on impulse purchases at the checkout, on a shelf or anywhere else in the store? One way is to know the psychology of impulse.

“We aren’t rational beings … especially with money,” said Brad Klontz, associate professor of economics and finance at Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., in a study recently conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, Princeton, N.J., for CreditCards.com. Researchers asked 1,003 U.S. adults about their impulse purchases.

The trick for retailers is triggering an emotional response. “[Retailers] don’t put Scientific American at the checkout for a reason,” Klontz said. “They place magazines like the National Enquirer and candy. Those things are more likely to make you feel emotions, like jealousy, curiosity and desire.”

Here are five ways to improve impulse buying in our stores …

1. Know your customers’ motivation

Impulse buys are most often made to fulfill a selfish desire, with 47% of respondents making impulse purchases for themselves, the report says. It’s especially true for 18- to 29-year-olds, with 61% saying they made most impulse purchases for themselves.

Younger people are more apt to make an impulse purchase, with 20% of people 65 or older saying they’ve never made an impulse purchase vs. only 8% of people younger than 50. Thirty percent of respondents who make less than $30,000 a year said they have not made any impulse purchases in the past three months.

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Snacks, Candy Focus on Healthier, On-the-Go Opportunities

July 14, 2017

From ingredients to format, snacks and candy are increasingly portable.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As snacking continues to increase among all consumer groups, especially millennials, snack companies are adapting to the focus on healthier, portable products, Progressive Grocer reports. “Due to increased health awareness and education, more and more consumers are seeking clean-label products made with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives,” said Eric Van Der Wal, vice president of marketing at Clearview Foods, the healthier snack department of Snyder’s-Lance Inc. “Gluten-free, organic and products made with non-GMO ingredients are becoming particularly popular.”

“We are seeing more emphasis on the nutrition value, ingredients and smaller serving sizes in candy and snacks,” added Rob Auerbach, president of CandyRific. “It’s in perfect harmony with what is going on in the mainstream grocery.”

In candy, miniatures have been popular lately. “The bite-sized category is projected to grow as ‘treating’ becomes more prevalent, especially with millennials,” Larry Lupo, vice president of sales for grocery, convenience and drug channels for Mars Chocolate North America, said. “Shoppers are looking for bite-sized treats that are easy to consume and offer portion control in a portable, resealable format.”

Another trend is marrying sweet with crunchy. Innovations like Hershey’s and Reese’s Crunchers and Reese’s Dipped Pretzels, “deliver a sweet treat with a crunchy texture,” said Dave Nolen, senior director of category strategy and insights at The Hershey Company.

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U.S. Customers Snack to Reward Themselves

July 3, 2017

Snacks with health related claims are among the fastest growing snack launches.

Even as customers become more health-conscious, they still seek indulgence. Mintel has found that the top reasons Americans snack is to treat themselves (50%) and 28% agree taste trumps health when it comes to selecting a snack item.

In addition to rewarding one’s self, snacking for self-care continues to be a popular motivator as nearly two in five (37%) consumers say they snack to give themselves a break during the day and 24% snack to relieve stress. What’s more, one in six (17%) Americans snack today in order to control their weight, up from just 10% who said they snack to help them lose weight in 2015.

Despite the propensity to indulge, health plays a key role in the types of snacks consumers eat. One third (32%) of consumers say the majority of snacks they eat are healthy and over one quarter (28%) say they are snacking on healthier foods this year than in 2016. In fact, snacks with health-related claims are among the fastest growing snack launches, with low/no/reduced allergen claims accounting for 46% of total new snack product launches in the U.S. in 2017, an increase of 30% over 2013, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

While the percentage of Americans who say they snack has remained steady in recent years—94% snack daily in 2017 vs 94% in 2015—snack frequency is on the rise as those who say they snack two to three times per day increased from 50% in 2015 to 55% in 2017, while those who report snacking once per day decreased to from 29% to 24% over the same time period.

Not surprising, younger consumers are leading the snacking revolution as Millennials (aged 23-40) are the most likely to snack four or more times per day (25%), compared to just 10% of Generation X consumers (aged 41-52) and 9% of those in the baby boomer generation (aged 53-71).

“The importance of snacking in America is undeniable and it is creating more and more opportunity for companies and brands as snacking frequency increases, particularly among younger consumers. While health is a factor for consideration in food and drink decisions, the majority of snackers do so for a treat, meaning even health-focused snacks should appeal with messages about enjoyment and indulgence. In recent years, brands have focused product innovation largely on cleaner formulations, highlighting an opportunity for innovative products with health attributes that appeal to health-conscious consumers,” said Beth Bloom, associate director of U.S. Food and Drink Reports at Mintel.

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11 Big Trends in Confection

May 29, 2017

Health and wellness aren’t the only things catching consumers’ eyes these days. People still want to satisfy their sweet cravings with chocolatey, chewy and melty treats. So it’s no surprise that, with data from Nielson and IRI, CSP’s Category Management Handbook reports that candy sales and units are on the rise.

This special report looks at what’s driving success in the candy category, from the overall trends to the fast-growing products to the insights that may lead to future growth.

The Trends

Despite the buzz around better-for-you products, consumers still have indulgent cravings. In fact, the global confectionery market is projected to reach $232 billion by 2022, according to Allied Market Research, Portland, Ore. Here are three trends moving the needle.

New-product blitz

The year 2016 saw high-profile hits from major brands, including The Hershey Co.’s Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups and Mars’ Caramel M&M’s. What that means for innovation in 2017 remains to be seen, but big candy brands aren’t resting on their laurels.

Occasion-based treating

Gifting is on the rise. Holidays and candy go hand in hand, sure, but major manufacturers are upping their seasonal games. Expect convenient and innovative twists on old standards to help boost those holiday candy sales.

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Millennials Are Driving Demand for Healthier Snacks

May 15, 2017

Study suggests that millennials are the driving force behind growth in better-for-you snacks.   

​AUSTIN, Texas – A new study by Amplify Snack Brands Inc. and the Center for Generational Kinetics suggests that millennials are the driving force behind the growth of the better-for-you snack category.

The research revealed that healthier snacks have become widely available across the country, break the income barrier, and are being held to the same standards of universal taste appeal as their conventional products. The result, says Amplify, is that healthy is the new normal.

The study’s white paper, available for download at amplifysnackbrands.com/research, cites research-based insights into better-for-you snacking trends and how to engage millennials by understanding their perceptions, motivations and behaviors when it comes to snacking. For example:

  • Millennials expect great taste: 78% describe better-for-you snacks as tasting the same or better than traditional packaged snacks.
  • Less is more: 64% of millennials, more than any other generation, believe that fewer ingredients mean a snack is healthier. In addition, 79% said that understanding all the ingredients increases their level of trust in a packaged snack.

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Millennials, Gen Z Seek Out Healthy Oils, Fats

May 12, 2017

As younger customers look for less processed, natural foods, minimally-processed fats are becoming appealing.

Dietary guidelines, for three decades have urged customers to cut fat and saturated fat from the American diet, but such a mindset is evolving.

Millennials and Generation Z consumers are the most inclined to view any type of fat not only as permissible, but as offering positive health benefits, according to Food Formulation Trends: Oils and Fats, a new report by market research firm Packaged Facts.

“This is the culinary revolution of the Instagram generation,” said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “These young adults are unencumbered by the low-fat crazes of the 1990s and 2000s, and do not have to overcome negative perceptions about fat in general. Instead, they are able to readily embrace and seek out specific plant-based and animal-based fats for their health benefits, including fat from avocados, olive oil, eggs, butter and omega-3 rich fish such as salmon.”

Packaged Facts forecasts that over the next few years, the foods most successful with these younger consumers will be those that contain minimally processed fats and oils that are free of GMOs and may even be organic. The report found that Millennial and younger consumers, in particular, seek to avoid overly processed foods and ingredients, potentially boosting the appeal of natural, unrefined oils.

When more description is included, it is likely to indicate naturalness and less processing, such as “raw,” “virgin,” “extra-virgin,” “unrefined,” “expeller-pressed,” and “cold-pressed” rather than “hydrogenated,” “refined,” “fractionated” and “solvent extracted.” For example, when it comes to dairy products, the natural, full-fat versions of butter, milk and cheese are more likely to be sought out because they are more natural and less processed.

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