The Sweets & Snacks Expo held on May 22-25 discussed how the economy is affecting consumers’ purchasing behavior in regards to snacks and treats, as well as their overall food and beverage consumption. Kathy Risch, a senior vice president at Acosta Inc., stated that the economy is “the elephant in the room,” revealing that one in two consumers only shop when necessary due to financial constraints. However, Risch notes that many snack and candy products remains relevant during tough times as they allow consumers to still have a sense of luxury. Despite the relevance of these products, they have lost ground recently in the marketplace. While average unit prices and category dollar sales are up, unit prices for snacks have decreased.
Risch notes that consumers value snacks that are “bargain,” “on sale,” and “a family favorite” and believes that promotions and transparent product value are important during times of recession. She specifically encourages manufacturers to focus on millennials who have a love for frozen snacks and sides and place a high value on clean ingredients, natural and organic products, and high protein content. Risch also cautions about the rise in self-checkout adoption in grocery stores, which impacts impulse purchases, a crucial aspect of snack and candy sales. She suggests manufacturers partner with retailers to minimize the loss of self-checkout sales through effective merchandising strategies.