At Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart convenience stores, sales of nuts and seeds increased 13% last year over 2011, said Category Manager Danna Huskey. That is right in line with the double-digit growth (10.4%) tracked for the $4.6 billion total snack nuts, seeds and corn nuts category for the latest 52 weeks ended Jan. 27, 2013, according to Jamil Satchu, a partner with Symphony Consulting, part of the SymphonyIRI Group market research company.
Huskey attributed at least part of the category growth in her stores to the ‘Get Crackin’ advertising program done by Wonderful for its pistachio nuts. “No matter whose pistachios you have on your shelves, the Get Crackin’ ads have boosted sales,” she said.
Bigger Ticket Ring
2012 was a banner year for nuts and seeds at Torrance, Calif.-based Famima convenience stores. Dollar sales jumped 140% over 2011; a phenomenon category buyer Eddie Oh attributed to resetting his product mix to eliminate items with low retail price and low gross profit, and replace them with products with higher gross profits.
Instead of the usual 99-cent price tag or two-for prices, Oh now focuses on the $2.99 retail point with 40% gross profit. Value-conscious consumers are happy because they are getting more product per ounce for their money, noted Oh.
“In 2011, larger bags made up 60% of our nuts and seeds sales; last year they made up 71%,” he said. “Our best seller in the seed category used to be the two for $1, two-ounce Frito-Lay sunflower kernels, but sales migrated to the 4.25-ounce, 99 cent package of sunflower seeds last year.”
Normally, Famima allots 12 square feet of display space for nuts and seeds, but last year Oh asked vendor Snak Club to place an additional three square feet of space in every store. “That really helped sales,” he said.
Famima customers have also taken to half-pound- and pound-packaged products from Nutty Guys. Just introduced in mid-December, these new products have an upscale, gourmet look that fits well with Famima’s overall image, he said.
Peanut Prices Surge
The price of the bar snack has leapt to a record high on the back of scorching weather and severe drought in key growing regions. Prices have almost tripled in the U.S. since 2011. The peanut price jump has been felt most acutely in the U.S., where it has forced retailers to push through large increases in the price of peanut butter—a staple of kitchen cupboards and food banks.
Still, consumption of peanuts is increasing. According to the National Peanut Board, the average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year. Other facts include:
• Peanut butter is consumed in 90% of U.S. households.
• Women and children prefer creamy, while most men opt for chunky.
• Four of the top 10 candy bars manufactured in the U.S. contain peanuts or peanut butter.
• Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter, and the average child eats 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before graduating high school.