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LAS VEGAS — Bold flavors and better-for-you products were among the top snack trends spotted at the 2015 NACS Show, particularly among salty snacks and meat snacks.
Sriracha and other spicy flavors were well represented among new products, such as General Mills' Simply Chex Xtreme line. Local/regional flavors are also popular, which prompted ConAgra Foods to develop a trio of new Slim Jim varieties featuring the flavors of California tacos, New York buffalo and Philadelphia cheesesteak.
Consumers are also interested in snacks that incorporate more whole grains. Plus, cereal bars and “fresh” snacks are gaining resonance. A General Mills representative noted "fresh" doesn't necessarily have the same meaning for everyone, but generally if a product can go stale, consumers will consider it fresh. Accordingly, muffins in a resealable package are considered fresh.
With the market for protein snacks strong and expanding, particularly among women, meat snack suppliers are developing more flavors and styles of jerky. For instance, Jack Link's introduced Lorissa's Kitchen, its new meat snack brand designed to be natural and simple, with ingredients that could be found in an average person's kitchen.
Overall, snack suppliers are working to improve shelving for products to draw consumers in a way that doesn't just mean expanding the snack section to offer more variety. Both ConAgra and Jack Link's featured racks that simplify shopping for the style and flavor of meat snacks that customers want by visually distinguishing items and flavors at a glance.
In regards to marketing, Mindy Rickert, associate director of shopper marketing for Mondelēz International, told Convenience Store News that the snack food supplier is excited about Shopper Futures, a follow-up to its successful Mobile Futures project which paired its brands with select startups and retailers to accelerate mobile marketing innovation.
“We have gone through our immersion process and built out the plan with our partners (Kum & Go, QuickChek and 7-Eleven, among other retailers),” said Rickert. “Our objective is to be in the market by December and start seeing results at the end of the first quarter of 2016.”
For more insights gained from the 2015 NACS Show expo floor, look in the November issue of Convenience Store News.