CHICAGO — Americans increasingly are buying ready-to-eat snacks on-line, according to a new report from The NPD Group. While small, e-commerce is one of the fastest growing channels for consumer-reported purchases of snacks, snagging share from such traditional outlets as grocery and discount clubs.
The top snack foods purchased on-line are categorized as salty, sweet or better-for-you. Such products typically have a longer shelf life and stable form for shipping and are less expensive or easier to purchase in bulk quantities, NPD said. Specialty snack foods that may be more difficult to find at brick-and-mortar retail outlets also are bought on-line. Taste, a key driver for snack food purchases overall, is even more important for on-line purchases, suggesting consumers are more likely to buy favorite products on-line rather than try something new.
Thirteen per cent of snack foods purchased on-line are eaten as a meal replacement, which compares to 10% for total channels. Eighty-five per cent of snack foods purchased on-line are eaten with no one else present, and 22% are eaten at work or in transit. Households with an income of $75,000 and above are more likely to buy snacks on-line.
“Snack food manufacturers can take advantage of on-line purchasing by exploring creative digital marketing strategies, like visual storytelling around the taste or health attributes of the product, or quick click links that auto-populate the consumer’s cart with candy, sweets and healthy snacks,” said David Portalatin, vice-president and food industry analyst at NPD Group. “Manufacturers can also market directly to the on-line snack food consumer with bulk or premium offerings of convenient on-the-go and single-serve snack foods.”
An example is Snyder’s-Lance, Inc., which through its Snyder’s-Lance Snack Shoppe at snyderslanceonline.com sells Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, Lance sandwich crackers, Cape Cod potato chips and more directly to consumers.Mondelez International has been exploring innovative ways to sell snacks on-line as part of a long-term goal to grow global e-commerce revenues to $1 billion by 2020. Last year, the company launched Oreo Colorfilled at shop.oreo.com, inviting consumers to buy Oreo cookies with customized packaging. And Kellogg Co. earlier this year announced Bear Naked Custom Granola, an on-line platform at bearnakedcustom.com that enables consumers to create a granola recipe with more than 50 ingredients.