THE SNACK ATTACK
Jerky, clean-label food bars and other better-for-you alternative snacks gain a following at c-stores.
BY CAROL ANGRISANI
from 2013. The category placed No.
8 on the Top 10 list of category sales
ranked by gross margin contribution.
The strong performance of the
meat snacks subcategory greatly
contributed to the overall category’s
strong gains. Accounting for 60% of
alternative snack sales, meat snacks
witnessed sales and unit growth of
11.9% and 6.8% in 2014, respectively.
“We’ve had dramatic, double-digit
sales increases in meat snacks over
last few years,” said Tim Cote, vice
president of marketing at Plaid Pan-
try, a Portland, Oregon-based chain
of more than 110 stores. The meat
snacks subcategory has benefited
from innovations that produced a
softer-chewing product with simple,
those that have cleaned up their
ingredients lists,” said Cote. “Instead of 12 to 13
ingredients, they’re now down to about six.”
A sign that the subcategory’s future looks
bright came last year with The Hershey
Company’s acquisition of Krave, the maker
of artisanal jerky. The deal marks Hershey’s
first purchase outside of candy.
Protein-Packed, Flavor Rich
The popularity of protein is the primary reason
consumers are eating more meat snacks. About 24%
of adults say they look for protein on nutrition
labels and 50% of adults say the best source is
animal protein, according to research firm the
NPD Group. “People want something to carry
them over to the next meal,” said Darren Seifer,
a food and beverage analyst at NPD Group.
Demand for protein-rich, satiating and portable foods has boosted sales in the alternative snacks category. It’s evident in the numbers: Alternative snacks generat- ed annual gross margins of $8,368 per store in 2014, a
12% increase from 2013, according to the NACS State
of the Industry Report of 2014 Data. (2015 data will
be released at this year’s NACS State of the Industry
Summit, taking place this month.)
According to NACS data, annual store sales of
alternative snacks reached $19,206 in 2014, an 8.1%
increase from 2013. Alternative snacks accounted
for 1.8% of in-store sales in 2014, a slight increase
> Meat Snacks
> Granola/Fruit Snacks
> Other Alternative Snacks
NACS category definitions can
be used to establish performance benchmarks and a
framework for retailers and
suppliers to discuss market
For more NACS category
definitions, visit nacsonline.