Snacks overall solid performance is driven by steady performers, such as crackers, dried meat snacks, salty snacks and cookies, but a few segments are truly popping out as shopper favorites. These include rice and popcorn cakes, that saw 4.4 percent dollar growth and 4.8 percent volume growth over the 52 weeks ending October 2, 2016, according to data insights firm IRI. But even more so, it is ready-to-eat popcorn and caramel corn that are stealing the show, with dollars up 17.7 percent and volume growth of 14.6 percent.
This kind of growth fits right in with shoppers’ overall quest for convenience throughout the path to purchase. Think about one-quarter of the population using digital shopping lists or the rapidly growing number of online orders. Or, in-store, what types of items shoppers have been adding to their carts. Many of 2016’s grocery trends were fueled by consumers’ desire to do things quicker—without compromising on quality. As a result, more and more consumers are turning to quick-and-easy between meal solutions, ready-to-drink beverages and snacks and other items that save time and are focused on shopper convenience.
For example, much like ready-to-eat popcorn, ready-to-drink tea and coffee experienced tremendous sales growth of 19.5 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. Or, value-added fruits and vegetables (e.g., pre-cut, pre-seasoned, side dishes and food trays) that locked in sales growth of 9.4 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively. Or, freshly-squeezed juice with growth of +22 percent.
These prepared items help busy consumers get a jumpstart on their meals or snacks. In the case of ready-to-eat popcorn, they also provide a solution for the ever-growing on-the-go snacking movement and it introduces fun, new flavor combinations.
According to IRI, it was maple that drove the highest dollar growth percentage for ready-to-eat popcorn, at +22.0 percent, followed by cinnamon (15.4 percent), cheese (+13.9 percent) and in particular cheddar cheese, at +3.4 percent.
Constant and on-trend flavor innovations are crucial to keep ready-to-eat popcorn as one of the top drivers of growth for total snacks. Gain more knowledge on flavor trends, shopper insights and category solutions by attending the show with more candy and snacks than any other event: 2017 Sweets & Snacks Expo. Learn more