granola bars

Almost every household in America (98%) purchases single-serve grab-and-go snacking products, pushing the individual snacking category to a value of $33 billion, according to a new report from Nielsen.

Annual spending on these products increased 1.1% over last year, driven by large and busy households looking for convenience.

While dairy snacks continue to take the lion’s share (22%) of the individual snacking market, other categories are seeing strong growth. Individual bars, jerky, and cookies/crackers have the highest absolute dollar growth, while salty snacks, cookies/crackers, jerky, and produce have the highest percentage growth.

Nielsen also found that products with healthful claims have experienced considerably higher growth than their more traditional counterparts. For example, while total snack-sized salty snacks had a dollar 5-year CAGR of 3.2% for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 30, 2017, those with no preservatives grew 24.1%, those labeled gluten-free grew 27.6%, and those labeled organic grew 24.5% over the same timeframe.

The report notes, however, that the same healthy options aren’t available at convenience stories. This represents an opportunity for processors, as almost half (44.2%) of consumers are willing to pay more for said convenience.

Overall, Nielsen recommends manufacturers and retailers expand their individual snacking options and consider providing healthy options across all channels.

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