pretzels and chips

Hot Category: Snack Time!

More snacking at home during the pandemic has fueled sales of private brand snacks.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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It seems as though consumers stuck at home during prime pandemic months couldn’t help but fill their time snacking. From pretzels to potato chips to nuts, consumers were tearing into bags of snacks, driving unprecedented growth in the category.

In fact, in July of last year, CVS Pharmacy had Harris Poll conduct a survey that showed 66% of respondents were snacking more at home, propelling the retailer to build out its Gold Emblem and Gold Emblem abound private brands in snacks. One area where they focused were healthier snack options. The survey showed that nearly 60% of respondents were eating better-for-you snacks. In news that could benefit own brands, 9 in 10 survey respondents were buying these snacks based on affordability.

Snack Innovations, a supplier based in Piscataway, N.J., knows the trend well, having rolled out innovative snacks to the private brand sector. The company’s Birthday Cake Drizzled Kettle Corn and Sweet & Salty Turmeric Kettle Corn were among Store Brands Editors’ Picks winners last year. The birthday-cake flavoring is non-GMO, dairy free, and is free of allergens. It also uses fruit- and vegetable-colored sprinkles to keep the popcorn to 140 calories per serving. On the savory side, turmeric is a functional ingredient.

In the nuts category, Select Harvest, a grower and shipper of California almonds, launched its Monk Crunch almonds for private label in July, a better-for-you snack that uses monk fruit as the sweetener versus traditional sugar. The snack slides right into the keto diet and the popcorn satisfies the indulgent craving without giving up on the healthy qualities.

Hot Stats:

  • Private label snack nuts, seeds and corn nuts were up 14% in dollar growth year over year ending Dec. 27, 2020. — IRI
  • Fruit snacks were up 12.6% and pretzels were up 9% in dollar sales, respectively, through Feb. 2020, so even before peak pandemic, snacks were rising. — Nielsen
  • For the 34 weeks ended Oct. 24, 2020, pretzels were up 18% year over year in dollar sales, amassing nearly $755 million during that time, compared with $996 million in all of 2019. — Nielsen
  • Up 87% in sales, refrigerated snacks ranked as the sixth-highest growing category in 2020 — and tops among foods — ranking just behind home health, liquid hand soaps, disinfectant cleaners, moist towelettes and household cleaner wipes.— Catalina 
  • U.S. salty snacks will exceed $29 billion in sales in 2022. — Packaged Facts