The traditional approach to the snacking category has been widely based on the view that snacking decisions are generally unplanned, that shoppers only decide to buy a snack when they’re at the shelf; this isn’t the case today.
The snacking category is now much more expansive, and its purpose is not only to meet an immediate shopper need, but to create new shopper needs and occasions. Understanding the context around how your shoppers make their snacking decisions and purchases can help unlock growth opportunities and better challenge the way that this category is tackled today.
A recent Nielsen Snacking Study identified seven key snacking profiles as a basis for better understanding the shopping behaviours and dynamics driving this category.
Snacking is wrapped up in a mixture of physiological and emotional needs and these seven snacking profiles are not exclusive. For example, an impulsive snacker is much more likely to try new snacks, to pick up a snack near the checkout, and to eat it straight away. Targeting these impulsive snackers is key to driving trial of new products and getting conversion into their baskets. Meal replacement snackers include those who have missed a core meal and want something to refuel and keep them going and this is likely to be an impulsive snack. However, for some shoppers these meal replacement snacks have become an important part of their daily meal plan, and these are planned snacking occasions.
The key is to better understand your shoppers’ needs and identify where the opportunities exist to unlock growth, both through shoppers and through new or different purchasing occasions.
There are several big trends driving growth in the snacking category and one of these is weekday versus weekend snacking. Across all seven of the snacking profiles we see that people consume healthier products during the week and turn to more indulgent snacks at the weekend.
This presents a big opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to better tailor and flex ranges to meet the needs of different snacking shoppers at specific points in the week. At the start of the week, consider ranging and promoting healthier products in a variety of smaller and single pack formats. Towards the end of the week, in preparation for the weekend, shift the focus to more indulgent treat products as well as sharing pack formats.
Snacking is heavily influenced by trends and to be fit for the snacking future, it’s important to understand which of the seven snacker profiles your brand caters for today, and which you want to prioritise in the future. This will help to inform the claims to prioritise on pack, the promotional strategy to execute in store, the channels to win with, the pack sizes to implement, the recipe or product development to lead with, the emerging trends to tap into, and future innovations to invest in.