SAVANNAH, GA. — Consumers around the world don’t always have time to stop in a supermarket to load up on snacks, so manufacturers are finding new ways to get in front of those on-the-go shoppers. Jared Koerten, senior food analyst, Euromonitor International, presented several ways different regions of the globe are outpacing North America on this front at SNAXPO 2017 in Savannah.
“Consumers are looking to shop more efficiently,” Mr. Koerten said. “They’re busy, and this is changing how consumers shop for snacks.”
From click-and-collect shopping models to home delivery, drive-thru to vending, technology is prompting the changes. Small-format retailers like c-stores, gas stations and local specialty stores are seeing the most growth in snack sales globally, according to Euromonitor, and traditional grocery stores are ripe for innovation. Mr. Koerten presented data showing that the time consumers spend buying general consumer goods is down 16% over the past decade while time spent grocery shopping has remained flat.
That shrinking shopping timeframe should make snack producers think about how they can reach consumers. Shoppers are spending less time in line at supermarkets primarily due to e-commerce, which has made shopping quicker and more efficient. E-commerce has seen an almost 5% increase per year for five years for savory snack retailing, according to Euromonitor. Mr. Koerten said that the number of on-line retail sales for savory snacks is rising and could approach 30% this year.
Amazon is leading the e-commerce trend and in December launched its Amazon Go concept that provides shoppers with digital sensors that track location and product selection. The end result is consumers can then just walk out of the store and be charged for what was put in their bag without standing in a checkout line. The concept is scheduled to launch later this year.
Amazon also has created Amazon Dash, a push-button ordering service that orders shipments of consumers’ favorite products when they run out of them. Over 250 brands have signed on, including many snack producers.
Amazon has even launched its own snack company called Amazon Wickedly Prime, a private label for cookies, tortilla chips, popcorn and salty snacks.
“All of these are changing the ways consumers shop and the way they think about shopping,” Mr. Koerten said.
Examples of other efficient shopping innovations include click-and-collect lockers at retail locations where consumers order products on-line and simply pick them up at lockers at the store. In Argentina, people are doing this through a mobile phone app called packASAP. In Switzerland, the retailer Coop has built Coop To-Gos in train stations, universities and other high-traffic areas serving fresh juices, produce and packaged foods.
“It’s a Coop idea but in a convenient small-format retailer,” Mr. Koerten said.
In Chile, vending machines now feature dairy products and other treats in train and bus stations.Mr. Koerten advised snack producers to follow and push this trend of reaching consumers where they are within their daily routine instead of expecting them to go out of their way to purchase a product from a store.