SMALL BUT MIGHTY
Rocking to their own beat, alternative snacks sing of higher retail rings.
BY TRACI CARNEAL
The snack section in most con- venience stores looks nothing like it did a decade ago. The gradual shift, which as permeated other in-store sales leaders like foodservice and packaged beverages, has been driven
by growing consumer demand for unique and
healthful snacking experiences — and that trend
continues to drive product innovation and sales in
the alternative snacks category.
While 99% of c-stores carry alternative snacks,
these products glean a small percentage of convenience channel sales. Comprised of bars (including
energy and protein), meat snacks, trail mix, granola,
fruit snacks, and yogurt- and chocolate-covered
pretzels and raisins, the category made up less than
2% of in-store sales in 2012, according to
NACS data. However, newly released NACS State
of the Industry Data reveals that alternative snacks,
in combination with other center-of-the-store cat-
egories, contributed 9.9% to total average in-store
sales and 12.4% of gross profit dollarsin 2013.
With a gross margin percentage of close to 42%
(based on 2012 data),
these products hold
huge profit potential for
c-stores, which are an
ideal venue for alternative snacks.
has been that c-stores
attract consumers with
said Josh Schroeter,
co-founder and chief
ment officer for Seattle, Washington-based Sahale
Snacks. “While that is still true, it’s changing very
quickly, and that mirrors the behavioral shifts of the
A bonus for c-stores is that premium or
artisan snacks garner higher price
points than traditional snack
food items. Retailers in all
channels are seeing tre-
mendous momentum and
interest in these types of
alternative snacks, as well
as those with a better-for-
Inroads are clearly being
paved for alternative snacks
in the convenience channel.
7-Eleven, for example, recently
announced a focus on premium
snacks as an entirely new category — run-
ning adjacent to traditional snack foods.
Just the Facts:
Alternative snacks, in
combination with other
9.9% to total average
in-store sales and
12.4% of gross profit
dollars last year.