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Domenick Celentano

IRI State of the Snack Food Industry 2011

By May 25, 2011

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Symphony IR just released their 2011 State of The Snack Food Industry report which can be downloaded from their website. You are not interested in snack foods? Well even if that is the case there is valuable information related to overall consumer purchase behavior that you will find useful as a food entrepreneur starting or running a specialty foods business. You are not a food entrepreneur? Well enjoy the "tasty" nuggets of information in the report to see what is happening in new product development that will show up in your favorite grocery retailer.

IRI states "It is a time of opportunity for snack marketers - opportunity which is tempered only by the industry's ability to understand and address the needs and wants of their consumers." We see that snacks are playing more diverse roles in the various eating day parts and snacks are way more than chips and pretzels.

Are you leveraging an evolving understanding of consumer perceptions around snack roles to develop more effective marketing messages?

Based on SymphonyIRI Group's annual analysis of snack foods the report(and webinar which can viewed as well) takes a deep dive into the trends shaping the snack industry. These trends are meta trends that are a harbinger for most consumer food products and can help all food entrepreneurs compete in this challenging economic environment.

I will be writing a comprehensive article in the near future and wanted to explore some top level data that can be useful takeaways for your business. In fact the top level data is useful in many industries since it points to major shifts in consumer purchase behavior.

Consumers are in the "money saving mode" with 38% reporting they are buying what is on sales vs. their favorite brands. Realize that 62% are not doing this just to put this in perspective and of course 38% of any consumer sector is a big deal and not to be ignored.

The biggest winners in sales volume increases were Snack/Granola Bars, up 5.5% and Yogurts which were up 5.4%. Volume increases are critical pieces of data since it show true consumption and not an effect of a price increase. Both categories had even higher dollar sales increases which means consumers are a bit less price sensitive in this area and a good sign for profitability for brands competing here.

Symphony IRI found 5 key trends are influencing market opportunity and growth, namely Health & Wellness, Search for Satiation, Beyond Sweet & Savory, Green is Good and Back to Brands.. But Value is Key. Lets cover the first 2 here and the remainder in my next post.

Health & Wellness Evolution. Consumer are trying to eat healthier with 71% surveyed claiming to be on the healthier journey. Healthier segments are outpacing indulgent snacks 4 to 1. Brand examples are Pringles Light Chips, RiceWorks Salsa Fresca Brown Rice Crisps and Nature Valley Nut Clusters.

Search for Satiation. This is a fancy word for "fullness" with 28% of consumers purchasing snacks to satisfy immediate hunger. Consumers are gravitating to Snack/Granola Bars, Yougurts, Dried Fruit Snacks and Snack Roll Appetizers. Brand examples are Chobani Yogurts, Fullbar Weight Loss Bars, Wonderful Pitachios and the Dan-o-Nino line of kids yogurt products.

Consumers, 40%, are now viewing snacks as an important part of a healthy eating plan all day presenting new product development opportunities for food entrepreneurs. Why? Consumers viewing snacks as not just a "snack" but as a mini meal on the go that delivers high value. This portends a significant blurring of categories. Just look at the Yogurt category as the number 2 in snack segment growth. So it is now wonder that the Chobani line of indulgent yogurts is popping up everywhere.

So... happy snacking and stay tuned for segment 2 of 2011 State Of The Snack Food Industry.


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