Over the past 18 months, retailers have lived with the axiom that “uncertainty is the only certainty that there is.” And while the global pandemic has accelerated a number of shopping behaviors, the truth is that consumers have been changing they way they shop for much longer. Digital tools are making purchasing from home or on-the-go easier, and are increasing “mission-based” shopping. But even though consumers are changing how they are shopping, snacking continues to make c-stores a destination for consumers.
Snacks for new occasions
More than ever, consumers are choosing snacks based as much on when they eat them and the job they do, rather than simply choosing a go-to brand or flavor. Offering snacking options by time of day has become an important part of any snacking portfolio.
For instance, afternoon snacks are increasingly being asked to perform the dual task of satisfying the desire for an indulgent treat and creating a feeling of satiation. They serve not just a quick reward or pick-me-up but are bridging the gap between meals. Additionally, during mid-morning, c-store shoppers are transitioning from better-for-you snacks like nutrition bars to indulgent treats like snack cakes.
Satisfying these new occasions requires retailers to choose between offering more brands and more options or relying on power brands to offer innovative snacking options that meet a variety of needs.
Shopping in store
While much has been made about the role of digital shopping, for convenience stores, it’s still all about the in-store experience. Consumers prefer to shop the channel in-store versus ordering online or through an app—both of which still represents less than 10% of transactions.
To make the most of the candy category, product assortment, placement and pricing are critical. As retailers look at planograms, merchandising the inline set based on how consumers shop and ensuring the best items are in the “strike zone” will work to drive conversion.
Effective merchandising is also essential to sparking impulse purchases and building baskets. Out-of-aisle merchandising throughout the store drives sales and is rooted in the consumer decision process to help shoppers locate products quickly. With 58% of category purchases partially planned or not planned at all, merchandising is critical to boosting unplanned purchases
Armed with these key insights surrounding what customers are looking for, The Hershey Company continues to lean into its expertise as a category leader to shape its new offerings around new occasions for consumers.
With the success that the Reese’s brand saw with its Snack Cake, the brand has unveiled Reese’s Crunchy Snack Cake and Reese’s Snack Bar, available only in the convenience channel. Other products set to soon launch in c-store from the Reese’s brand include Reese’s Super King, a six-cup package of the beloved Reese’s Cups, launching November 2021; Reese’s White Sticks, launching May 2022; and the much-anticipated Reese’s Stuffed with Potato Chips, a sweet and salty combination that is perfect for afternoon snacking, launching in November 2021.
“It was especially important this past year that we were able to create innovation and excitement to help drive trips, increase basket size and optimize the category,” said Glenn Frazier, Director of Category Management for U.S. Convenience, The Hershey Company. “While core brands remain the bedrock of the business, new products and limited-edition products continue to make c-stores a destination for the candy, mint and gum category – a top-dollar sales category for the channel.”
This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company