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MINNEAPOLIS — Despite the fact that better-for-you snack options are on the rise these days, consumers still love their sweet snacks, especially when they shop at convenience stores. These cravings can be satisfied across multiple categories, including packaged bakery, fresh bakery, candy, cookie and treat bars.
Offering the right mix of items ensures that sweet products will be lucrative for c-store retailers, according to a recent Sweet Snacking Segmentation Survey conducted by General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. The survey sought to better understand how shoppers are buying sweet snacks throughout the day and the needs that each sweet snack meets.
"While consumers tend to place more focus on health in this day and age, sweet snacking is not slowing down when it comes to convenience stores," said Kelly Kees, consumer insights researcher at General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. "C-store shoppers still want to indulge and are seeking out sweet treats that deliver on great taste and also have some elements of nutrition, like nut butters, fruit flavors or real foods."
More than two-thirds of c-store sweet snacks are purchased on impulse, and the majority of sweets satisfy afternoon and evening cravings, the survey found. Nearly half (48 percent) of shoppers eat c-store sweet snacks in the afternoon, and 14 percent eat sweets to satisfy evening or late-night cravings.
Additionally, 65 percent of c-store food and beverage purchases are unplanned and purchased on impulse once seen in the store.
C-store shoppers segment sweet snacks into three occasion groups ranked in order of unit share: Afternoon Indulgences, Sweet Start Mornings and Anytime Munching.
Afternoon Indulgences is the largest group, representing 70 percent unit share of scan-able sweet snacks. These afternoon/evening products meet three specific customer needs:
- Crunchy Chocolatey Nibbling — Mini candies and cookies with a little indulgence;
- P.M. Chocolate Indulgence — Indulgent candy and packaged bakery that usually includes rich flavors such as chocolate and caramel; and
- Fruity Candy Craving — Bite-size, non-chocolate candy eaten while doing other things.
Sweet Start Mornings is the second-largest group, representing 18 percent unit share of sweet snacks. These A.M.-focused products meet two specific customer needs:
- A.M. Bakery-fresh and Wholesome — Baked goods with homemade cues and at least some nutritional value (such as fruit pieces, whole grains or fiber) and
- A.M. Bakery Indulgence — Bakery-fresh and taste-first sweets that are eaten for enjoyment and while on the go.
Anytime Munching is the smallest group, representing 13 percent unit share of sweet snacks. Snacks within this group can be eaten throughout the day and tend to be more wholesome sweet options. These snacks are not daypart-specific and meet consumer needs for homemade and baked treats with at least some nutrition.
Minneapolis-based General Mills Convenience & Foodservice serves the convenience, foodservice and bakery industries.