Our changing lifestyles continuously influence the way we eat. Today, more than ever, we eat what we want, when we want. Although, three square meals a day has been the standard pattern for decades this traditional view of eating has eroded over the years.
The introduction of food-to-go, meal replacements, and the myriad of social trends that come and go all influence the way we think about food consumption. Snacking has become increasingly important as busy lifestyles drive our desire for more convenient and quick ways to satisfy our food consumption needs.
There are four key areas that are set to make the biggest impact on the future development of the snacking category.
The space allocated to core snacking categories has evolved quickly. Over the last 5 years we’ve seen some major changes to in-store space such as the introduction of front of store meal deal displays, the removal of unhealthy products from the tills and the end to full gondola ends promoting a single brand or product. Store space is continuously evolving and there are the two big trends that could revolutionise in store snacking space are snacker based merchandising and flexible weekday/weekend ranging.
Today’s shopper is well informed in all elements of a product or brand, with ratings and reviews becoming integral parts of the decision making process. Shoppers not only want greater ownership and control over their service, they want instant results and a seamless process from decision making through to purchase and gratification. The next level of technology that will shape the evolution of online grocery shopping and disrupt the path to purchase is everything-as-a-service technology, cutting down the decision making process for the shopper, and automating it.
The convenience channel has traditionally been the engine driving the snacking category, but is now having to work harder to differentiate itself against a mission also being catered for by large supermarkets and online. As retailers and manufacturers look to the future, portfolio reviews
will be critical to ensure the right mix of channels to withstand and capitalise on industry changes. This channel fragmentation presents an opportunity for snacking to promote wider ranges of convenient on-the-go snacks in large supermarkets and greater conversion of impulsive snacks in online baskets.
BRAND VS OWN LABEL
The snacking category has traditionally been a heartland for big brands. In part, the rate of innovation, depth of range and quality perception has kept the share gap as a moat between brands and own label. However, own label continues to be a strategic lever for retailers, and this is coming through in snacking with premium products that are helping to change the quality perception and helping them to take a valuable portion of the snacking pie. The speed of reaction means that brands need to continue to invest in innovation to stay ahead and to maintain their role at the fixture. Spotting trends early and being nimble will be crucial.