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Joanna Tilley finds out how you can use premium products and healthier lines to grow your snack sales
Strong snacking core
With research forecasting a 9% growth in sales volume by 2022, there remains little doubt that Britain is a nation of snackers. The crisps and nuts category has already sustained growth over the past five years and remains one of the most innovative sectors in convenience.
Premium products and healthier lines are two key areas driving launches in the category. “This is excellent news for retailers as it creates an opportunity to make a real point of difference by premiumising your offer, helping you stand out from the competition on the high street while driving your customers’ average spend,” says Katy Hamblin, Pipers Crisps marketing manager.
“Strong shelf-presence and impactful PoS play a vital role in helping to drive these snack sales.”
Retailer Harris Aslam, of Eros Retail in Fife, says he is currently revamping his snacking category to capitalise on the trend for shoppers staying in with sharing packs.
“We are splitting up our crisps so that single bags are merchandised for impulse and sharing bags are near the alcohol area, so that encourages people to grab those £1 bags,” he explains.
“What also works well for us is our own-brand snacking lines, which include nuts and Bombay mix. These niche products perform well because our competitors do not stock them.”
Site your single bags next to other impulse lines
"We are splitting up our crisps so that single bags are merchandised for impulse and sharing bags are near the alcohol area"
Matt Collins, convenience sales director at KP Snacks, offers his top five tips for driving impulse sales
Stock the core range from each key supplier to cater for all consumer needs, as core products represent 99% of sales compared to new products.
Retailers should stock bestsellers in more than one location in high-footfall areas.
Retailers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should encourage trial and boost cross-category buying by positioning nuts and crisps near the beers, wines and spirits fixture.
Ensure promotions and PoS are in visible locations.
To make the most of big nights in, stay up-to-date with big sporting events and major TV programmes as these occasions may drive impulse purchases.
Don’t miss out on meat snacking
As consumers edge away from sugary snacks and towards products higher in protein, the meat and dairy snack sector continues to grow.
“Protein is widely seen as healthy, with its role having evolved from niche muscle building to having a broader everyday appeal in which energy and vitality feature,” says Pavan Chandra, senior brand manager at Jack Link’s, which owns Peperami. Last year, Peperami launched a 100% Classic Beef variety, which is high in protein and has filled the gap in the market for convenient beef snack products.
Chandra says Jack Link’s Jerky can also help retailers trade up their shoppers, with the average price per serving close to three times that of savoury crisps.
Retailers should ensure these money-spinners have high visibility. Clip strips and display units are good ways to increase the visibility of meat protein snacks and smaller formats are often popular among consumers.
The meat snacking sector is also benefitting from the growing trend of people eating on the go. “As consumers continue to push for healthy products, retailers need to consider their product offering for consumers in the food-to-go market,” says Felipe Castillo, Grabits head of innovation.
“Grabits Chicken on a Stick has a strong point of difference as a 100% whole chicken product, in an easy-to-eat format for a grab-and-go snack.”
Include meat snacks in your meal deals to offer your shoppers more choice
Offer shoppers the choice of pot snacks
With time-strapped commuters looking for convenient food fixes, there has been growth in the pot snack category. This sector has also benefitted from the growing trend of people eating multiple small meals throughout the day rather than sticking to the traditional three set meal times.
“Consumers are more likely to eat at work or on the go, as time pressures affect how and when they have their meals,” says Mike Benton, head of snacking at Symingtons, which owns Mug Shot, Naked Noodle, Naked Rice and Ilumi.
“We’ve recently launched a range of noodle-based meal soups that replicate the noodle bar experience at home or on the go in two varieties: Hot & Sour and Laksa.”
Mug Shot is one of the brands that has been capitalising on the public’s more fragmented eating habits and it is now worth more than £42m, with 18 flavours including Roast Chicken, Tomato & Herb, Sweet & Sour and Peri Peri.
Unilever has reacted to the demand for healthier, on-the-go lunch options with the creation of a completely new brand, PrepCo. This uses natural ingredients and provides the more health-conscious consumer one of the recommended ‘five a day’ in a choice of rice, couscous, quinoa and lentil recipes.
“We have also brought the nation’s favourite pasta recipes to instant snacking with the popular Pot Pasta range, because we know that variety is key when it comes to keeping our fans engaged,” says Monique Rossi, snacking and marketing manager at Unilever.
Merchandise pot snacks in the grocery section and food to go to boost sales
A place for sweet treats
Despite a surge in healthy snacking, British shoppers still have a sweet tooth and retailers should not ignore the opportunity sweeter products provide.
In this category, price-marked packs can help to drive snack sales as they offer consumers great value for money.
“We have a lot of success with our £1 bars of chocolate and also with our mini packs of Cadbury Shortcakes, Oreo packs of six and single Squares.”
Lesley Robertson, Arden Fine Foods senior manager, says only 39% of snackers look for healthy options all or most of the time and this means that many consumers are simply opting to downsize rather than give up their favourite treats.
“Retailers looking to tap into this demand should offer products that enable consumers to control portion size, either through smaller snacks or smaller-sized packs,” she explains.
“Their small size also means they are especially handy for on-the-go snacking as well as indulging at home.”
KP Snacks’ Matt Collins says people are likely to be acting healthier in the morning but will be more indulgent in the evening. Therefore, it is worthwhile for retailers to make sure their confectionery and biscuit snacks are in prime positions during the later hours of the day.
Offer confectionery in price-marked packs to guarantee your shoppers good value
“Our most popular snacking products are crisps, especially the £1 bags. We have all the Doritos range, including the new Doritos Collisions.
“We offer free samples to our customers, which helps us boost sales of new products. I put a dish out on the weekend by the crisps and people are quite good at sampling new things. It really helps boost sales. Another way we promote new brands is by putting their products by the till.
“Familiar brands, such as Walkers, Galaxy and Dairy Milk, are most popular with our shoppers. When it comes to healthy snacking, younger shoppers are most likely to choose the healthier brands such as the Nutri-Grain and Alpen bars. You still have your avid chocolate and crisps people – and it is mostly women who come in for the chocolate bars.”