Grazers in search of more from the snacking aisle

The snackfoods category has become symbolic of the way the convenience channel is responding to modern shoppers’ demands for both health and indulgence by offering a more balancing mix of products.

Nevertheless, while dollar sales in 2017 hit $194 million, growth of 2.1% was down from 6.9% the previous year and meant the category actually went backwards to the value of $4 million.

IRI’s MarketEdge highlighted an especially pronounced slowdown at the year-end; the double-digit growth enjoyed in Q4 of 2016 was not mirrored in the same quarter last year as revenues instead declined by -1.4%.

Within these results, the fortunes of individual retailers varied considerably last year, with two banners experiencing mid-single-digit decline while another grew by an impressive 14%.

IRI’s Insights Manager Dan Bone said however that the category’s performance belies the underlying trend towards more frequent grazing and snacking. ‘According to our Shopper Panel, just 21% of households subscribe to the notion that they eat three square meals a day and no snacks.’

‘The demand is there,’ he added, ‘so it’s a question of responding to the ongoing pressure for space and the fact that product counts across key category segments are likely to remain flat or in decline in the near-term. Finding the optimal blend of range across segments like chips, nuts nutritional bars and dried fruit will be key for retailers and manufacturers in 2018 and beyond.’

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