- Convenience stores are increasingly a haven for snackers at all times of the day, as the category has seen double-digit growth in snacking dollar sales across all dayparts the past two years, according to a Tuesday webinar by research firm Circana.
- As seen in beverage trends, healthier snacking options have experienced increased interest in c-stores, with Circana highlighting double-digit dollar and unit sales growth for snacks with energy, immunity-boosting and vegan claims.
- The recent boost in all-day snacking underscores the category’s overall year-over-year growth in c-stores, driven by consumers’ ongoing price concerns and desire for innovation and healthier lifestyles.
With over half of all respondents ages 18-44 telling Circana they snack three times or more per day, convenience stores — with their highly positive impression among younger generations — are set up to capitalize.
“The younger generation is definitely snacking more so than the older, but all generations are snacking three plus snacks a day … at varying levels,” Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader, client insights, for Circana, said during the webinar.
According to the presentation, c-stores experienced 13.8% growth in 2022 snacking sales from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. as compared to the previous year. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., growth was 11%; from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. c-stores saw 12.4%; and the 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. span brought 11.3% growth.
“Long story short, there’s still double digit growth across each day part which just really shows the strength of snacking across the day,” Lyons Wyatt said.
While almost 75% of consumers consider price when purchasing snacks, they also are opting for smaller portions, as snacks weighing less than 2.5 ounces had the most year-over-year unit growth in c-stores, according to the webinar.
Vegan snacks saw the biggest boost among the health-conscious categories noted, boasting triple-digit growth in dollar sales year over year, according to Circana. Immunity-boosting snacks had an 82% increase in dollar sales, while snacks with energy-boosting claims grew by 19% in dollar sales.
Zooming out to overall foodservice, Circana found that QSRs made up 58% of the commercial foodservice market, while c-stores came in a strong second, outpacing fast casual, midscale and casual dining segments. Circana noted that consumers enrolled in a retailer’s loyalty program purchase more products, which can bode well for the snacking cateogry.
“We think that this is going to be a way to communicate, excite, engage … bringing something additional from reward programs and boosting up sales within the snacking arena,” Lyons Wyatt said.
Circana’s data also observed the types of snacks that are popular, increasing interest in a variety of flavors and the categories seeing the greatest success in private label channels, among other information.