CHICAGO -- Last quarter, CSP covered the top-selling salty snacks in convenience stores. And while potato chips reign atop the category—the snack contributed 30% of salty snacks’ revenue in 2018, according to Chicago-based IRI—they didn’t grow as much or as fast as other snacks types in the segment. CSP looks at the fastest-growing snacks in the $5.5 billion salty snack segment to help retailers determine which items to stock heading into the new year.
Here are the fastest-growing salty snack segments in c-stores, according to IRI …
Year-over-year (YOY) growth: 3.2%
Ready-to-eat (RTE) popcorn saw nearly $232 million in total c-store sales over the past year, a 3.2% increase from November 2017. The fastest-growing RTE brands during the period include Oma’s Choice (up 248%), Jay’s O-Ke-Doke Hot Stuff (241%), private-label popcorn (73%), Angie’s Boomchickapop (67%) and SkinnyPop (22%).
Consumers also crave a variety of RTE popcorn flavors. Research firm Mintel analyzed popcorn purchases of nearly 600 consumers from October to December 2017 and found that nearly half (49%) prefer cheese-flavored popcorn; 32% prefer chocolate/caramel covered popcorn; 39% want popcorn with multiple flavors; 20% crave mix-ins with popcorn, such as dried cranberries or candy; and 20% want seasonal flavored popcorn, such as pumpkin spice or gingerbread.
4. Other salted snacks (no nuts)
YOY growth: 6.1%
Other salted snacks, such as mix-and-match snack variations like Chex Mix and Gardetto’s, reeled in more than $901 million in total c-store sales over the past year. This resulted in a 6.1% increase from November 2017, good for fourth place overall on the list. Surging brands include Nabisco Ritz (164%), private-label (107%), Lay’s Poppables (65%) and Sun Chips (21%).
3. Pork rinds
YOY growth: 7.1%
Pork Rinds totaled more than $216 million in total c-store sales from November 2017 to November 2018, a 7.1% increase over the time span and good for a third-place finish. The fastest-growing brands in the category over the past year included Mutt & Jeff Porkskins (38%), Golden Flake (24%), Grandpa John’s (23%) and Carolina Country Snacks (17%).
- Click here to see which pork rinds CSP noticed at the 2018 NACS Show.
2. Cheese snacks
YOY growth: 7.2%
Cheese snacks beat pork rinds by a hair. The category garnered more than $721 million in total c-store sales over the past year, resulting in a 7.2% increase over that span. Moreover, 81% of consumers said they purchase cheese snacks at retail locations, tied with nuts for the highest of any snacking type, according to the 2018 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report by CSP's sister research firm, Technomic. The fastest-growing cheese snack brands over the past year include Sonoma Creamery (705%), Elmer’s (29%), Utz (21%) and Frito-Lay’s Baked Cheetos (17%).
1. Tortilla chips
No salty snack category surged more than tortilla chips over the past year. The segment totaled more than $1 billion in sales—good for a 10.8% increase compared to last year—making up a fifth of the entire salty snack segment. The winner was Doritos’ Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy flavor. Not only was the variety the fastest-growing brand in the tortilla chip category (875%), but it topped all other salty snack brands across every segment. Tortilla chip brands that sat behind Doritos’ Marvel option included Paqui (163%), Barcel Takis (63%), El Sabroso Guacachips (23%) and El Sabroso Salsitas (20%).