Consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to stock up on ready-to-eat snacks. In fact, while the online channel remains small, it’s one of the fastest-growing sources of ready-to-eat snack purchases, in contrast to traditional channels such as grocery and discount clubs, which tend to plateau or decline. As consumers turn more and more to digital devices as the preferred platforms to fulfill their wants and needs, online snack sales are poised to continue their upward arc.
- Salty, sweet and better-for-you varieties are the top snack foods purchased online, offering a longer shelf life, a stable form for shipping and cost-effective pricing in bulk quantities.
- Consumers are turning to the online channel for premium snack foods that are hard to find in traditional channels.
- Taste is an especially strong driver of online snack purchases–an indication that consumers may be stocking up on favorites online rather than seeking out new options.
- 13% of snack foods purchased online are consumed as a meal replacement, compared to 10% for total channels.
- 85% of snack foods purchased online are eaten with no one else present.
- 22% are eaten at work or in transit.
Ever wondered what types of snacks are driving sales around the world? Well we can say that depends on where you live. Confections—which include sugary sweets, such as chocolate, hard candy and gum—comprise the biggest sales contribution to the overall snack category in Europe ($46.5 billion) and the Middle East/Africa ($1.9 billion). Salty snacks contribute more than one-fifth of snack sales in North America ($27.7 billion), refrigerated snacks comprise almost one third of snacks in Asia-Pacific ($13.7 billion) and cookies and snack cakes make up more than one-fourth of total snacks in Latin America ($8.6 billion). Smaller in size but big in potential: the fastest-growing snack categories are ones to watch. Sales of savory snacks, which include crackers, rice cakes and pita chips, increased 21% in the last year in Latin America. Meat snacks, which include jerky and dried meat, grew 25% in the Middle East/Africa and 15% in North America. Refrigerated snacks, which include yogurt, cheese snacks and pudding, jumped 6.4% in AsiaPacific, while dips and spreads, which include salsa and hummus, rose 6.8% in Europe. Non-sugary snacks closely aligned with meal-replacement foods are showing strong growth, which signals a shift in a consumer mindset to one focused on health. While conventional cookies, cakes and confections categories still hold the majority share of snack sales, the increasing innovation in the healthy snacking and portable food space adjusts to this changing dynamic.