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Snacks are ground zero to grow food retailers' sale

Consumers want more variety and healthier snacks at the supermarket, says report

With the convenience already distinguishing it as a leading destination for snacks, food retailers have an opportunity to leverage prepared foods’ strong association with healthy eating to gain additional share in the highly competitive snack market says a new report.

Prepared by Chicago-based research firm Technomic, The Canadian Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report says retailers are locked in a battle with fast-food restaurants for share of stomach, and have a chance to win snacking occasions by emphasizing the value, portability and customizable portion sizes of their items.

Introducing a wider variety of flavours, sizes and formats (such as easy-to-eat circular bites) will also be key to stealing share of snacking occasions the report adds.

It also suggests that food companies might consider looking to “ethnic” dishes like tacos for inspiration, as well as crowdsourcing platforms for consumer input into new offerings.

A desire for healthier snack foods could also help retailers drive sales by investing in more unique and nutritious snack choices, with the report suggesting that foodservice operators consider partnering with consumer packaged goods companies to create co-branded offerings.

READ: Something fishy in the snack aisle

Consumers are continuing to demand more variety in healthy snacks, indicating an opportunity to drive sales through more unique, nutritious snack choices.

Canadians’ snacking habits have remained stable at twice daily for the past two years.

The snack space is evolving in such a way that anything can now be considered a snack, with fewer consumers indicating that they are eating different foods for meals and snacks.

“Staying up to date with broadening definitions of snacks will be necessary to staying competitive,” says the report. “Brands should constantly evaluate their snack lineup to ensure that they are keeping up with current definitions.”

READ: Crave-worthy Canadian snacks

The report also suggests that so-called “off-peak snacks” are becoming increasingly common, with younger consumers in particular liking to snack in the morning (especially at breakfast) and late at night.

Offering breakfast items as snacks could potentially boost off-peak snacking occasions, with baked goods such as doughnuts and Danishes appealing both as a morning and late-night snack.

The report, which is based on a survey of 1,000 consumers, also notes that customization is a rising trend, with 34% of respondents saying they are likely to order a mix-and-match option such as a food and beverage combo at a restaurant. Presenting a mix-and-match option, the report says, enables consumers to personalize both the snacks and the experience.

The report also notes that consumers consider a wide range of food items to be snacks, and are “increasingly likely” to regard beverages as a snack.

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