Healthy Snacking Providing New Opportunities

Several Granola Bars Isolated on a White Background with Narrow Depth of Field.The sweet snacks category shows no sign of slowing down, thanks to a combination of product innovation, smaller portion sizes, enduring brand power and retailers’ recognition that it earns every inch of its shelf space.

“The category is doing great,” said Wade Hollis, senior manager of category buyers for Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. “There is a lot of innovation right now with various types of bars, some that deliver high on protein but still taste great, and some that deliver on energy–and again, taste is important.”

Health-conscious consumers are finding manufacturers eager to accommodate them with smaller package sizes. “It’s about portion control there,” Hollis said. “Smaller sizes and less sugar play into the customers’ desire to have healthier snacks for themselves and their kids.”

Though new players may make inroads, the top sellers, according to IRI data, continues to be the major players like Kellogg, General Mills, US Nutrition and Kind.
What lies ahead for the category over the next 12-24 months, Hollis predicted, is much of what retailers are currently seeing. “There will be more innovation, more new products and more flavor extensions of the items that have done well,” he said. “Therefore, the need will be to expand space allocation for these to respond to those needs.”

Accommodating Growth
Retailers should already be planning on ways to find and allocate more space to this category as Love’s did in 2013, a move that has contributed to the chain’s success with this growing category.  “In fact, we have already added a little bit more space on top of that for 2014,” Hollis said. “That section in c-stores has traditionally not been very big, and there’s really no other way to take in the new items, all of which are seeing solid sales gains. You’ve got to find more space for these innovations.” ◆

Protein Fuels Bar Sales
Health-conscious consumers are looking for sweet snacks and meal replacement solutions and they’re finding them in convenience stores. IRI reported that 2013 protein bar sales jumped more than 15% in c-stores to $461 million. Clif Bar led the way with a 35.47% sales growth followed by Power Bar, which saw a 15% sales increase. Breakfast bar sales also increased thanks to new products, such as Kellogg’s Special K Pastry bar and Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt bar.

Chart Source: Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Total U.S. Convenience AllScan, 52 Weeks Ended Dec. 29, 2013


total Nutritional/Protein Bars

Clif Bar

Kellogg’s Special K Protein

Power Bar

Supreme Protein

MetRx Big 100



total Breakfast Bars

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats

Kellogg’s Nutri Grain

General Mills Golden Grahams

General Mills Lucky Charms

Kellogg’s Special K Bar

Kellogg’s Special K Pastry

General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch

General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios

Rickland Orchards Yogurt Bar

Nature Valley



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