It’s undeniable that consumers' needs are changing. Throughout the last year, as people navigated the pandemic, retailers witnessed a sharp increase in meals at home over dining out. Trips to convenience stores were down, as people worked from home rather than commuting to an office. Nevertheless, snacking is at an all-time high.
And while snacking is up across nearly every category, people are still making decisions about how to snack in a healthy way and looking for better-for-you snacking options that offer the delicious taste and textures of their favorite brands. For retailers, however, snacks—particularly confection—offer profitability and are great basket-builders to increase the size of sales when trips are down.
So how can retailers appeal to consumers who want snacks, but may be looking for healthier alternatives?
Chocolate in all shapes and sizes
Chocolate was the No. 1 quarantine snack during stay-at-home periods of the pandemic, and it continues to perform well. Retailers who want to satisfy consumers’ desires for indulgent treats can consider a range of shapes and packs to give consumers options for healthy snacking in the forms of portion control. While standard “under the counter” candy cars are a staple of checkout queues, offering smaller assortment bags can provide a portion controlled snacking option. For example, Hershey's Kisses have long been a portioned controlled snack, as each individually wrapped Kiss offers consumers the option to have one, or a handful, depending on what suits them. More recently, Hershey has offered its THiNS line as a portioned option to give people a satisfying taste of what they love.
Fuel and treats
Snacking takes a variety of forms, usually depending on the time of day. The morning occasion has witnessed consumers gravitating to better-for-you snacks as fuel for their day in the form of protein bars and quick breakfast options. Research has shown, however, that as the morning wears on, mid-morning snackers lean toward snack cakes. As they move toward mid-day and into afternoon, consumers begin leaning toward salty snacks that offer both satiety and indulgence like ready-to-eat popcorn before looking for treats like confection in the late afternoon. Understanding this fuel and treat behavior—and offering a variety of options to meet consumers’ needs—helps retailers capture sales across the entire better-for-you snacking landscape.
Research from Ipsos shows that 70 percent of people in the United States are concerned about the amount of sugar in their diet, and it’s clear that more consumers than ever are interested in sugar-free products for a number of lifestyle-related reasons. A number of manufacturers have begun to produce zero sugar versions of their most popular products to offer consumers the same taste and texture they have come to love, while simultaneously reducing the amount of sugar in their diets.
As much as consumers love knowing that their snacks contain less sugar, they also want to know what else is in their favorite snacks. The desire for transparency in ingredients has prompted manufacturers to offer a variety of organic products, including confection. A growing number of consumers are seeking organic chocolate; however, most of the current offerings come from small brands with limited distribution that sell at a premium price. A solution for retailers is to seek out those larger manufacturers who have introduced organic versions of their most popular products, but are able to offer them at an affordable price.
Hershey’s leads the market
Hershey’s purpose is to make more moments of goodness, and it looks to make each of those snacking occasions an opportunity to make an everyday moment into something special. Hershey’s understands its consumers and responds to their snacking needs—from beloved classics to new offerings like Zero Sugar and organic—Hershey’s offers retailers a variety of options to help consumers meet their “better-for-you” snacking goals.
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This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company