4 Product Categories Experiencing High Purchase Frequency Growth

grocery cart

Consumer buying trends are bringing growth to the salty-snacks, frozen, pizza, popcorn and confection categories, according to TABS Analytics’ sixth annual Food and Beverage Consumables Study.

Conducted in August 2018, the TABS study was designed to uncover how consumer buying patterns in 15 consumable-products categories are shaped by promotional campaigns. Drilling deeper, it spotlighted how total buyers (paced by low unemployment combined with higher incomes) and power buyers (those who stock up for weeks/months at a time) are catalysts for growth.

The 15 consumable categories analyzed included candy, carbonated beverages, cereal, cookies, crackers, frozen pizza, ice cream, juice (refrigerated), juice (shelf), frozen novelties, popcorn, sports drinks, water, yogurt and salty snacks. The study found purchasing frequency growth in all but one of the categories: carbonated beverages.

“Growth in virtually every category of food and beverages examined in this year’s study can be attributed to two underlying trends: more buyers purchasing those products and heavy buyers increasing the amount of those products that they purchase,” said Kurt Jetta, president and founder of TABS Analytics, based in Shelton, Conn. “Online retailers still have a lot of ground to make up to see the same kind of penetration we’ve seen in other markets, such as vitamins and products for children.”

Click through for a sampling of four product categories (and one specific category segment) cited in the TABS Analytics report.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Salty snacks

fresh cravings salsa and chips

Among food and beverage categories, salty snacks ranked No. 1 with a solid purchase frequency based on the two-year compound annual growth rate measurement.

Photograph courtesy of Fresh Cravings

Frozen pizza

smart flour pizza

Frozen pizza saw strong gains driven by a dual trend of more buyers and more transactions by “very heavy” buyers, according to TABS Analytics.

Photograph courtesy of Smart Flour Foods​


vitapop popcorn

Similar performance was registered by the popcorn category, where the one-two punch of more buyers and heavy buyers put the packaged category in a solid growth position, the report said.

Photograph courtesy of Vitapop​


3 musketeers birthday cake

Across the candy category, nearly two-thirds of all purchases (by shoppers buying the category more than three times annually) are made at traditional grocers, Walmart, dollar stores and Target, compared to only about half for food and beverages overall.

Photograph courtesy of Mars Wrigley​

Bagged candy

jolly rancher misfits

Homing in solely on the bagged-candy segment, TABS Analytics said warehouse clubs and small-format stores (except drug chains) have ample room for growth in these types of sales, whereas online platforms received less than 1% of mentions as a shopping outlet for bagged candy—much lower than the 5% share it holds for food and beverages overall.

Photograph courtesy of Jolly Rancher​