Top Snacking Foods for 2017

Millennials are shaping the way we approach our convenience industry.

The patterns and behaviors of food consumption are changing constantly. Breakfast is consumed at night, pizza in the morning, and small snacks all day long. It’s a different pattern from our traditional dayparts. Let us examine what you can do, and where the opportunities lie to ensure your business is running in the most profitble manner.


The greatest opportunity for retailers relies on understanding and embracing major trends. Customers demand ingredients that are real and good for you as to make them feel better about what they are snacking on. It is equally as important to provide a selection of snacks for them to indulge in, and consumers do not want to sacrifice taste or flavor. Young consumers want to try new things and go out of their way to try new flavors. With the changing of day parts and all day snacking trends at an all-time high, c-stores have an opportunity to capture in-between meal trips for time-starved customers.


According to NACS research, “Consumers, especially millennials are interested in snacking as a substitute for full meals. One innovation is selling smaller portioned size meals in an on the go format. An example would be a sandwich wraps in a small packed size wrapping or fruit cups in smaller sizes.”

Below, we dive into some specific trends that can help innovate your snacking options and help capture new audiences.

Meat Snacks

Meat snacks are the cornerstone to the alternative snacking category. Meat snacks made up 58.7% of alternative snacks in 2016, meaning its performance had the largest impact on overall category.

The average U.S. consumer enjoys meat snacks about 10 times a year—significantly more than the eight times that consumers were purchasing meat snacks in 2012.

Complete with protein, meat snacks are typically considered a better-for-you option over potato chips and other varieties of salty snacks. In fact, meat snacks are gaining on potato chips’ dominance.

Spicy Trends

Another major trend we are seeing in the snacking category is the shift from sour to spicy preferences. We are seeing a growing number of fruits, chocolate, and candy paired with a spicy pepper flavor.

Popular spices include sriacha, habanero and jalapeno. For the adventurous kind, some companies are introducing Carolina Reaper pepper and ghost peppers.

More traditional confectionary manufactures are putting the twist on their traditional products. Wrigley Jr. Co. introduced a Skittles Sweet Heat as well as Starbursts Sweet Heat.

We also see the spicy trend in the meat snack and nuts category. Popular flavors include Siracha and Chipotle.

ChocolateArtisan and craft

With the increasing buying power of millennials in the C-store, we are also seeing a demand for more artisan and craft snacks. Manufactures have responded by ramping up production on premium confectionary products and more.

Dollar sales of premium chocolate grew nearly 10% last year, on top of 16% in 2015, according to the National Confectioners Association.

Many companies are paring the sweet chocolate taste with a salty topping.

We are also seeing a popular cold brew coffee trend in an edible, artisan bite-sized snack. Cold Brew Chocolate Coffee Bites, a new gourmet range from Wild Ophelia, includes three varieties: Jet Black, Mexican Vanilla and Sea Salt Caramel.

For Cooper-Booth Wholesale customers, contact your sales rep to help get started.

For prospective customers looking to switch to Cooper-Booth, call us at 800-992-0592.

For More Information Contact Your Sales Rep or Call 800-992-0592