As more US consumers move away from traditional meal occasions, snacking more throughout the day, they are seeking healthier snacking options. New research from Mintel reveals that 73% of consumers are willing to pay extra for snacks made with high quality ingredients, with 50% saying healthier snacks would motivate them to buy more from specialty snack shops.
With snacking now ubiquitous, 64% of consumers agree that snacking is necessary to get through the day, including 77% of Millennials, who are the most likely generation to visit speciality snack shops (85% vs 68% of consumers overall). And while 60 % of Americans visit snack shops on a mission to treat themselves, Millennials are more likely to be motivated by healthy snack options (68%). What’s more, an extra boost of energy is also a motivator for Millennials as 38% dine at snack shops for energy compared to 27% of consumers overall.
Despite high levels of interest, specialty snack shops face stiff competition from retail: 41% consumers agree that packaged snacks from grocery stores are better than items from snack shops, including 63% of Millennials. Recognisable brands also play a role when choosing snacks, as 69%) consumers say snacks with branded ingredients prove to be higher quality than other snacks. Moreover, 71%) Millennials say snacks are best eaten while on the go, signalling the importance of efficient ordering processes at snack shops.
Mintel said customisation presents an opportunity for speciality shops to differentiate themselves from retail competition, especially when targeting parents. Indeed, more customizable snacks would motivate 30% of parents to more frequently visit snack shops (vs 18% of non-parents). A similar number of parents (28%) are interested in more snacks with unique flavours (vs 17% of non-parents). Overall, 34% of parents would be inclined to visit snack shops more often if they included more snack options for children.
Deals and value offers are key motivators for consumers to visit specialty snack shops instead of opting for the convenience of retail offerings. Mintel research reveals that snack shops can attract new consumers and reward regulars by offering loyalty programmes, which motivate 37% of consumers to visit more often. Also, 38% of Millennials would visit snack shops more often if they offered social-themed promotions (ie happy hours)
When unveiling new menu items, promotional pricing motivates 35% of consumers, including 39% of parents. And in line with Millennials’ interest in going to shops to enjoy a snack with friends and family (39%), 38% of Millennials would visit snack shops more often if they offered social-themed promotions such as happy hours.