The 4 Salty Snack Types That Satisfy Consumers’ Cravings

What satisfies those hungry, moody, lonely snackers?

Originally published at

The salty snacks category is one of the top destinations for convenience-store shoppers. The third-largest food and beverage category has been growing at more than 5% for the last five years, according to Nielsen data, presenting a growth area for retailers. What satisfies these consumers?

To help convenience stores maximize salty snack sales, General Mills Convenience & Foodservice conducted a survey with c-store consumers to better understand shoppers’ perceptions of the salty snacks category so retailers can ensure they have the right product mix.

Convenience-store shoppers segment salty snacks into four big groups. Within these groups, salty snacks satisfy several specific consumer needs.

1. Salty craving is the largest group representing 55% unit share of salty snacks. Salty craving products meet three specific customer needs:

  • Old Standbys. Chips, puffs in traditional flavors with broad appeal.
  • Spicy Adventure. Crunchy with hot and bold flavors; more adult.
  • Change it Up. Crunchy, salty and flavorful, but not spicy.

2. Healthier is the second largest group, representing 29% unit share of salty snacks. Healthier products meet four specific customer needs:

  • Natural Satiety. Sensible, healthy real food e.g. trail mix, nuts.
  • Pass the Time. Sunflower seeds to relieve boredom.
  • Better for You. Guilt-free satisfaction; traditional salty craving alternatives.
  • Meaty Goodness. Protein for energy, weight loss; real food.

3. Bold substance is the third largest group, representing 15% unit share of salty snacks. Bold Substance products meet two specific consumer needs:

  • Bold Meaty Fix. Protein for energy boost and bold flavor enjoyment.
  • Enhanced Experience. Multi-form products for variety and satiety.

4. Sweet craving is the smallest group within the salty snacks category, representing 1% unit share of salty snacks, and meets consumers cravings for sweet and salty and indulgent snacks.

Other key findings:

  • Salty snacks are an impulse-driven category and most are eaten in the afternoon, within one hour of purchase.
  • 68% of convenience-store food and beverage purchases are unplanned and purchased on impulse once seen in the store.
  • Afternoon snacking alone is the most common occasion for c-store snacking and 95% of shoppers say they generally eat their snacks alone.
  • 70% of shoppers cite mood enhancement, such as a treat or reward, as the No. 1 reason why they purchase salty snacks.
  • Primary purchase motivators include “something that taste great” and “something that satisfies a craving.”

Read the full report and view infographics HERE

Source: The 4 Salty Snack Types That Satisfy Consumers' Cravings. (2016, January 15). Retrieved March 28, 2016, from

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