5 Well-Received Packaged Snacks in 2022

5 Well-Received Packaged Snacks in 2022

Packaged snacks sold within the convenience channel experienced sweeping success again in 2022 across dollar and units, with the latter measurement depending on the specific snack segment.

Thriving packaged snack flavors included sweet, salty, traditional and exotic. Formats ranged from bags, bars and sticks to canisters. All snack sizes performed well, too, including single-serve, mid-size, shareable, premium and value options.

Zeroing in on salty snacks across all U.S. convenience stores, the sector rose 16.9% for a 52-week period ending October 30, 2022, while units rose 3.7%, according to data from Chicago-based IRI. Pacesetters included rice/popcorn cakes (32% dollar sales growth), tortilla/tostada (23.7%), cheese snacks (17.9%), potato chips (15.3%) and pretzels (15.7%)

Both retailers and industry consultants had a chance to weigh in about various packaged snack trends taking shape in 2022. Click through for insights from retailers, suppliers and industry consultants about the current state of five packaged snack segments.  

Meat snacks/jerky

 Meat snacks/jerky

Peter Kempton Jr., center store category manager for Westlake, Ohio-based TravelCenters of America, points to the meat snack/jerky narrative.

“It was a tough category this year. It was off the charts with sales and unit numbers pre-COVID and during,” he says. “Now it’s about cost and pricing pressure: it’s became too much of an imposition on customers’ wallets. Inflation is high, and a $15 to $20 large-size bag of jerky presents the specter of high cost despite the robust size of the package.”

Meat snacks/jerky rose 4% (units were off 3.5%), but the caveat is that meat snacks enjoyed such a prolific performance trajectory that it was bound to come back down to earth, says Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader, client insights for Chicago-based IRI.
 

Rice cakes

Rice cakes

According to IRI data, rice/popcorn cakes saw dollars and units grow 32% and 7.4%, respectively, for the 52-week period ending Oct. 2, 2022, across convenience.

“Rice/popcorn cakes are exhibiting off the chart growth,” says Lyons Wyatt, which are hot with consumers because “you can spice it up and even sweeten it up. It’s versatile and possesses healthy attributes.”

Boiled peanuts

Boiled peanuts

Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts are “a big impulse item,” says Camp Blanton, senior manager overseeing the convenience channel for Peanut Patch, owned by Effingham, S.C.-based McCall Farms. The brand has two formats: hot, fresh boiled peanuts that are foodservice-oriented and merchandised in barrels as part of a floor display. A 16-ounce fresh boiled peanut cup sells for $2.49 and a 32-ounce cup sells for $3.99.

The fresh offerings are complemented by packaged Peanut Patch boiled peanuts sold in-line. The 13.5-ounce pop-top can is positioned in-line with brands like Pringles, with an SRP of $2.09. 

King-size confection and snack cakes

King-size confection and snack cakes

King-size candy is “still doing great” for TA/Petro, says Kempton Jr. Separately, snack cakes remain relevant at the travel center chain thanks to an everyday low price (EDLP) strategy done in conjunction with Hostess Brands.

“We are getting more into family share sizes, like a 2-pound bag that offers high value. EDLPs are executed as ‘two-for’ or ‘three-for’ arrangements. The goal is to push multiples and fill the basket,” says Kempton Jr. 

Healthy snack bars

Healthy snack bars

Melissa Ritthaler, senior manager of commercial strategy/small format for Kellogg Co., says “we know 58% of consumers look for products with a short list of relevant ingredients, which is why RxBar continues to perform well in c-stores. Consumers are faced with so many choices, and we’re seeing the modern consumer really seeking a balance. They may indulge here and there but they also want to make sure they are eating things with wholesome, real ingredients.”