Protein has gained an increasingly expanding audience every year as consumers of all ages seek to increase the amount of protein in their diet. For young consumers, often the goal for protein consumption is to maintain and fuel their active lifestyle, while or older consumers have an increased focus on calories and carbs as they seek to stay active and healthy as they age.
Among protein snacks, consumers reach for protein bars first. However, consumer expectations of what protein bars can deliver are evolving. Consumers continually demand better taste, texture and flavor experiences without sacrificing nutritional quality, and available products are matching that demand. For example, Hershey’s FULFIL brand offers multi-layered bars that mimic the eating experience of a traditional candy bar, while Hershey’s ONE Crunch bar focuses on a light, crispy eating experience designed for the mid-afternoon fuel-up occasion. While protein bars make up the bulk of the category, there is continued growth within other novel forms of protein snacks such as chips, cookies and candy. From an occasion standpoint, the expansion into other forms of protein snacks does not just enable a new eating experience, it fills a different role for the consumer during their day, making it highly incremental to traditional bars.
Just like other products, convenience retailers can successfully merchandise protein snacks in their stores by focusing on visibility and shoppability. Not all protein snacks are the same, so it’s important to help the shopper easily navigate between high-protein bars that will fill them up for the next several hours versus a smaller protein or energy bar that is designed to tide them over ahead of an upcoming meal. Additionally, ensuring that these products are placed next to complementary products is critical; at convenience stores, protein snacks pair well with coffee and energy drinks. Protein bars and other alternative snack products that are on feature or display see the greatest dollar lifts in convenience and across other classes of trade.
Consumers’ desire for an indulgent treat versus an alternative snack such as a protein bar is not mutually exclusive; consumers want both, depending on the need and occasion. Sometimes they reach for a fully indulgent treat to meet a mental or emotional wellness need and sometimes they look for alternatives that include less sugar or more protein. Retailers can meet this demand by providing shoppers with access to a variety of snacking options that include protein bars and other protein snacks.
This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company