Snac World - Official State of the Industry 2021 - 9

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
by Dan Malovany
L
Let there be no doubt: 2020 was an unprecedented
year, but one part of America's lifestyle
didn't change. Despite the upheaval caused by
the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, snacking
remained strong. Certainly, it went in different
directions as households turned to variety packs
and family-sized bags purchased online in greater
numbers. Snacking also saw increased frequency
during mornings and afternoons from remote offices
and home schooling and surged in the evenings
as movie nights transformed into regular affairs.
" Consumers are snacking more than ever, " observed
Leslie Vesper, vice president of marketing,
innovation, Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay. " At the
onset of the pandemic, there was a dramatic increase
in snacking as consumers were purchasing
essentials in bulk and stocking up their pantries
with their favorite snacks. As the pandemic continued,
consumers were spending more time at
home, snacking during new dayparts and seeking
more variety in their snacks in order to satisfy
the needs of everyone in their households. Now,
more than a year later, we're seeing many of these
habits stick, and as people begin to gather again,
snacks have returned as the cornerstone of these
social occasions. "
Overall, IRI reported that salty snacks sales rose
a hefty 8.2% to $22.9 billion for the 52 weeks
ending May 16, 2021. Some categories such as
other salted snacks, meat snacks and ready-toeat
popcorn jumped at double-digit rates, while
potato chips, tortilla chips, cheese snacks, corn
snacks, pretzels and pork rinds experienced solid
single-digit growth.
That's impressive considering that the latest IRI
data includes year-over-year comparisons to the
first part of the pandemic when droves of at-home
consumers flocked to stock up, explained Justin
Spannuth, vice president and chief operating
officer, Unique Pretzel Bakery, the Reading, Pa.based
company that recently rebranded itself as
Unique Snacks.
" The snack industry has seen some significant
fluctuations in the last year, and some sales numbers
will be tough to beat in 2021, " he said. " It was
amazing to see that when panic set in, comfort
brands were the first to be bought as experimenting
with new products was not on many people's agendas.
As the weeks went on, groceries were still in
high demand with many restaurants closed, but the
panic started to wane. This is when smaller brands
saw their solid sales increase. "
As time moves on, Mr. Spannuth added, the outlook
appears bright for niche brands as well.
" Businesses and restaurants are reopening, and
while snack sales are reducing from 2020's all-time
highs, the brands with quality like Unique Snacks
are seeing that our sales drop-off percentage is
far lower than the category, " he explained. " This is
evidence of consumer retention that we credit to
product quality. "
The outlook for the remainder of this year and
heading into next looks bright for several reasons.
" What we found is that we think there will be a
3% to 4% pricing gain, which will help core snacks
gain a 3% to 4% dollar sales increase, " said Sally
Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice
leader, IRI, during an IRI webinar on the state of the
snack industry in April. " You've got to remember
that a lot of projections [in 2021] are for declines
in food and beverage because of the strong year
we had in 2020. So, the fact that we're predicting
snacks to not only grow 3% to 4% - and yes, pricing
is going to play a part of that - is a big deal. "
Valerie Oswalt, president, Campbell Snacks,
Camden, NJ, suggested that snack companies
survived - even thrived - by quickly reacting to
market trends.
" If we learned one thing from the last year and
the COVID-19 pandemic, it's that consumer demands
can shift rapidly, " she said. " As a result, I
think the greatest opportunity in snacking is our
agility. Baking and snacking companies need to be
fast and flexible now more than ever. "
TARGETING NEW MEGA TRENDS
Ms. Lyons Wyatt said a combination of wellness,
permissible indulgences like baked chips and fully
2021 SNAC WORLD
9
┬ęDon Mroczkowski - stock.adobe.com

Snac World - Official State of the Industry 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Snac World - Official State of the Industry 2021

Snac World - Official State of the Industry 2021 - Intro
Snac World - Official State of the Industry 2021 - 1
Snac World - Official State of the Industry 2021 - 2
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