CVS finds snacking increase, deploys private brands to meet demand

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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Among all the other effects of the pandemic on people’s daily lives, they also are snacking more these days, according to a survey commissioned by CVS Pharmacy. The survey, administered by Harris Poll in July, found that 66% of respondents reported snacking at home more, with nearly 3-in-5 people (59%) saying they are eating better-for-you snacks and meal solutions more than they would have before the pandemic. 

Importantly, while a selection of national and/or niche brands was critical for 57% of those who seek out better-for-you snacks, more important factors included affordability (identified by 90% of respondents), variety in flavors and choices (89%) and convenience (84%). Additionally, 70% said they wanted to be able to find better-for-you products when on-the-go. Consistent with that, 78% of those who purchase such snacks and meal solutions are likely to do so in the store, and 53% of all shoppers said they look for pre-made meal solutions to make mealtime easier. 

Looking to meet these needs, CVS Pharmacy has added more than a dozen items to its Gold Emblem and Gold Emblem abound private brands into more than 3,700 stores. Including both better-for-you products and adventurous cuisines, both lines offer both snacks and staples while being gluten-free, vegan-friendly, USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. There also are heart-healthy, low-sodium, high-protein and fiber-rich products. 

New additions include:

•    Gold Emblem Thai-Style Pad Thai,  $3.99;
•    Gold Emblem abound Chipotle Bowl with Black Beans, $3.99;
•    Gold Emblem abound Chickpea Curry with Basmati Rice, $4.49;
•    Gold Emblem abound Pesto Genovese Quinoa, $3.99;
•    Gold Emblem abound Red Kidney Bean Curry with Basmati Rice, $4.49;
•    Gold Emblem Garlic & Spinach Cheese Ravioli, $3.29; and
•    Gold Emblem Basil Pesto Penne, $3.99

The expansion is part of CVS Pharmacy’s larger efforts to be a health-and-wellnes destination and make healthier choices easier for its shoppers, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based retailer said. Stores now include on-trend displays in certain stores for better-for-you indulgences, as well as a “fuel up and go” display and a "$1, $2, $3 snack scene” display with favorites from national and niche brands, as well as the retailer’s private label selection. The company also has expanded its omnichannel efforts, offering delivery through Instacart, DoorDash and Shipt at certain locations. 

Important for marketers — and retailers’ private brands — 48% said that they have been surprised by the better-for-you snack selection at their local drug store