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    Why Kellogg Is 2016’s Salty Snacks Category Captain

    Repositioning its Cheez-It portfolio met untapped consumer demand.

    By Susan Durtschi, Past Times Marketing

    BATTLE CREEK. Mich. — Snacking occasions are blurring. The number of choices for snacking is rapidly increasing. This shift in behavior means planned snacking at home is on the decline and being replaced by immediate, on-the-go snacking.

    The convenience channel is the sweet spot for this change in consumer behavior. More than two-thirds of immediate-consumption shoppers purchase weekly and many of these shoppers buy on impulse. Millennials and Hispanics are also key c-store targets as they are heavy on-the-go snack buyers.

    Knowing that salty snacks are the No. 1 in-store category growth driver for c-stores, The Kellogg Co. took a unique approach looking at salty snacks in 2015. Kellogg understood that convenience shoppers wanted more than just a potato chip for a salty snack. Cheese crackers and snack mixes are strong convenience segments and had untapped potential.

    Kellogg repositioned its Cheez-It portfolio to meet this untapped consumer demand for on-the-go options in salty snacks. In addition to the traditional cheese crackers Cheez-It is already known for, Kellogg helped convenience store retailers realize even greater basket rings with the iconic brand by expanding the line with new flavors and food forms; a right price strategy; consumer offers; and creative in-store marketing support.

    For its efforts, Kellogg was selected winner of the 2016 Convenience Store News Category Captains award in the salty snacks category.

    Now in its third year, the awards program applauds outstanding category management initiatives implemented in the convenience channel over the past 12 months. All entries were judged by product development experts at consumer research firm Past Times Marketing based on the information supplied by participating companies.

    The Cheez-It salty snacks portfolio now features eight Cheez-It branded snacks that can be merchandised together to drive impulse and multiple purchases, including Cheez-It Duoz (available in Cheddar Jack/Baby Swiss and Sharp Cheddar/Parmesan varieties), Cheez-It Snack Mixes (available in Original and Double Cheese) and Cheez-It Grooves, a lighter, chip-like snack (available in Zesty Cheddar Ranch and Sharp White Cheddar).

    To gain attention and drive excitement and increased purchases of this brand set, Kellogg encouraged retailers to implement and promote an everyday value pricing strategy of $1.99 per bag. This initiative included placement of placards to assist retailers with their salty snack planograms (stickers placed on Cheez-It salty snacks called attention to the new right price), a 22-cents-off consumer coupon, and in-aisle point-of-sale.

    Additionally, Kellogg provided customizable POS along with creative, traffic-stopping, in-store marketing kits to drive bundle purchases of Cheez-It with the choice of a fountain drink. During the promotion period, when consumers purchased any one single-serving size of Cheez-It Grooves with any-size fountain drink, they would save up to 75 cents on their purchase. The kit included table tents, posters, fountain-drink-station stickers and product shelf marketing.

    As a result of these efforts, the Cheez-It brand grew 23.3 percent in 2015, driving an additional $11.3 million in incremental dollars for convenience retailers. The Cheez-It Grooves innovation in 2015 drove more than $6 million in incremental sales. Sales of Cheez-It Snack Mix grew by 11.1 percent and Cheez-It Duoz sales grew by 24.5 percent, commanding more than $2.4 million in dollar growth combined.

    Overall, the Cheez-It brand had a tremendous year, delivering nearly $60 million in total sales — faster growth than some of the core salty snacks segments, such as potato chips, pretzels and ready-to-eat popcorn, according to Kellogg.

    This repositioning gave convenience store shoppers choices outside of the traditional salty snacks and helped drive category growth for Kellogg’s retailer partners.

    The company is committed to supporting and evolving the Cheez-It brand by continuing to deliver consumer-preferred, high-performing innovation, category insights, impactful marketing strategies and the consumer advertising needed to drive excitement and greater turns and profit.

    For more on the winners and their category management initiatives, look in the Convenience Store News Guide to Category Management, published this month.

    By Susan Durtschi, Past Times Marketing
    • About Susan Durtschi Susan Durtschi is president and CEO of Past Times Marketing, a consumer research firm. Convenience Store News partners annually with Past Times Marketing to conduct its Category Captains and Best New Products Awards competitions. For more information, go to www.pasttimesmarketing.com.

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