Total packaged pastry and doughnut sales for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 25, 2016 increased 3.62% to $1.54 billion, according to Information Resources Inc.’s (IRI) Total All Scan convenience store data. Unit sales jumped to 1.03 billion, an increase of 1.5% from the previous 12 months.
Within the pastry and doughnuts category, pastries, Danish and coffee cakes experienced the strongest sales gain, up 4.96% to $719 million. Unit sales rose up sharply, increasing 3.24% to 520 million for the 12-month period.
“There are a couple of things that I see,” said Guy Morgano, vice president of the PRIDE Stores, a 12-store chain based in St. Charles, Ill. “Everything is transitioning into bags right now. I see a lot of bagged snacks with little bigger portions.”
C-store shoppers aren’t going to go away from sweet snacking, but they are more likely to read labels than ever before.
“I think the healthier options are going to continually keep popping up and being more important as time moves on,” Morgano said. “We’re actually starting to scratch the surface with the non-GMO products in an attempt to attract a different demographic than in a typical convenience store consumer.”
Like packaged sweet snacks, granola bars and snack bars also enjoyed a strong 2016 and a renewed optimism for 2017. Dollar sales for the category rose 5.75% to $911 million last year. Unit sales increased to 552 million, a hike of 2.29%.
Within this category, customers are looking for health benefits and value. IRI data shows that value health bars surged 6.53% to $626.32 million. Unit sales increased 3.1%, or 278.53 million bars sold. The breakfast/cereal and snack bar segment of the category experienced dollar sales growth of 5.61%, to $181 million for the 12-month period.
Within its 12 locations, the PRIDE chain has made a concerted effort to offer patrons more natural snacking options. One popular offering that is gaining traction in the c-store channel is KIND-brand granola bars, which feature whole nuts, fruits and whole grains. The snack offering fits the c-store’s increased emphasis on stocking healthier snacking options.
It’s also just one of the strategies that the retailer has put in place to draw a more diverse consumer base. There are certain segments of new consumers the Illinois c-store chain is targeting to increase retail traffic.
“We’re trying to attract more women and people in general who normally wouldn’t expect to find higher quality product within a convenience store,” Morgano said. “We are experimenting with those types of products to try and get people in.”