Since stay-at-home orders began, the snack market has seen a dramatic swing as consumers stocked up on essentials. IRI data show consistent growth across the board for core snack products such as potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips and snack nuts during March, and it remains strong, according to a market trends report by Baking & Snack’s Nico Roesler in the May issue of the magazine.

Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader, client insights, for IRI, attributed most of that growth to price increases because sales volume fell slightly in 2019. But things may change.

“It will be important to continue driving unit growth during post-COVID because we can’t rely on price increases as we did before,” she noted.

Ms. Lyons Wyatt predicted that snacking would see higher sales through the COVID-19 recovery and into the predicted recession period. She said companies may lose traditional impulse purchases because more people are ordering online and avoiding stores, and they may also switch to private label snacks because of their value proposition. As a result, snack companies should make brands more available online and communicate the shift to consumers.

With this increased online presence, Ms. Lyons Wyatt said snack companies should determine which channel is best for them. That’s because mass market stores, value stores and club stores will experience a sustained boost in sales and drive growth. Snacks offer consumers value and a little enjoyment the whole family can share in these difficult times.