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Healthy snacks make for healthy sales

As the health and wellness trend continues to bring rapid change to the convenience landscape, the snacking category has found itself front and centre of the ongoing transformation.

Healthy snack foods with a high nutritional value, such as muesli bars, protein bars and dried fruit and nuts are quickly growing in importance as some of the more traditional offerings lose flavour with consumers.

Alistair Leathwood, Chief Commercial Officer: Asia Pacific of market research company IRI said Australian shoppers were still indulging, but they were doing so in a more considered way.

“In the snack foods category ‘better for you’ brands are growing at more than twice the rate of traditional crisps”, he said earlier this year.

“While traditional snacking products experienced 2% growth, ‘better for you’ brands grew in sales by 5%.”

According to the most recent State of the Industry Report from the Australasian Association of Convenience Sores (AACS), chips grew 0.5% after a slight decline in 2017, while nutritional bars continues a strong three-year growth trend with category improvement of 17% and nuts also maintained a strong growth of 8.5%.

According to the AACS, snack shoppers are often seeking a beverage purchase and 67% of customers who buy a snack also buy a beverage. This represents a clear opportunity for stores to engage customers by using promotional tools such as bundling thy a healthy snack with a healthy drink, such as kombucha.

The report also found the average spend of those purchasing snack foods is $9.90 per visit and that males now account for 56% of snacking customers, up five points on last year.

Market research firm Convenience Measures Australia reported that last year healthy snacks increased penetration of the total snacking category by 27%. It said that 19% of healthy snack shoppers buy more items than planned, which is more than double the channel average. According to its data, the highest basket penetration of healthy snacks is between 6am and 11am.

Snack brand Purabon have identified three main consumer groups within the convenience segment:

  • Tradies and young men looking for snacks to support their active life and provide functional benefits beyond taste
  • Female office workers with an active social life looking for convenience without compromising on nutrition
  • High school and uni students seeking a breakfast replacement or healthy snack that isn’t loaded with calories but is still delicious

Purabon CEO Kerin O’Brien says healthier snacks, such as their range of protein balls, make for easy impulse buys.

“Australians are more and more seeking out natural and/or organic food options, so that means when consumers are looking for a snack, they are looking for products that identify as being healthy… that is additive fee, with natural ingredients and low/no added sugar,” O’Brien said.

“Health consciousness has risen over the past five years and that trend is expected to continue in Australia.”

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