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.’