Convenience stores are often seen as a place for innovation, as manufacturers dissect dayparts and occasions to provide consumers myriad options for snacking. This innovation is a historical growth driver, delivering news and excitement in the category. And while the morning occasion has seen a proliferation of better-for-you options like yogurt and nutrition bars, c-stores’ growth in other morning options like snack cakes has stalled.
While bakery snacks represent the third largest snacking category at c-stores, and the category is growing, their pace pace in c-stores has slowed within the last year. This stalled growth coincided with a sharp decline in 2019 innovation sales as the category lacked disruptive innovation. In fact, out of the top 15 items in snack cakes, 14 have been consistent since 2016, leaving growth from innovation ranging anywhere between 4-6% of total sales per year.
Despite reduced innovation, bakery snacks are expanding at the expense of ready-to-eat yogurt and cold cereal, as the growth favors snacks with little to no prep and portability. The right innovation in snack cakes could bring excitement and spark new growth in the category.
Mid-morning basket builder
What makes snack cakes a candidate for new growth?
Snack cakes are almost always purchased with another item, making them the ultimate mid-morning basket builder. Explorer Research finds that over half of mid-morning consumers (shoppers visiting between 9:00 am and noon) are browsing in-store to find a match for their coffee, and at least 50% of snack cake and nutrition bar users are open to trying new brands.
Because of this browsing behavior and willingness to try new brands, snack cakes are an excellent basket builder. They can help build the morning snack occasion with placement both within the bakery snacks aisle and near self-serve beverages (fountain and coffee).
Reese’s for morning
During mid-morning, people transition from better-for-you products like yogurt and nutrition bars to more indulgent treats. We see this in the wide variety of products that use indulgence to dial up appeal.
The Hershey Company sees the role of indulgence continuing to change across the morning daypart with mid-morning becoming even more relevant for indulgent items.
In a recent 9-week in-market test at a leading c-store retailer, new Reese’s Snack Cakes were the third best-selling snack cake in the packaged baked goods category.
The morning occasion is ripe for disruption. As the No. 1 confection brand in c-stores, Reese’s will bring significant innovation to the snack cake category beginning November 2020.
This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company