It’s not surprising that The Hershey Co. jumped further into the snack category by purchasing Dot’s Pretzels LLC and Pretzels Inc., a co-manufacturer of pretzels for Dot’s Pretzels and others. The snack’s low-fat claim, along with growing interest in clean labels, a mix of better-for-you ingredients, new flavors, limited-time offers and the insatiable appeal of a salty crunch creates opportunity, noted Beth Day, contributing editor, in her trends report in the November issue of Baking & Snack.

Pretzels have performed well, posting 5.3% growth in dollar sales for the overall category, according to IRI retail sales data for the 52-week period ended Sept. 5, 2021. Ms. Day suggested differentiation is a key factor in remaining competitive in this market.

Brands must evaluate product portfolios to deliver value, according to Mintel’s “Trending Flavors and Ingredients in Snacks March 2021” report. Mintel also suggests focusing on innovation with premium ingredients or new flavors to create affordable snack options that tap into the connection snacking has with seasonality and daypart.

Achieving certain health claims by playing with nutritional values will appeal to specific health goals creating market space.

“As the fastest growing US pretzel brand, Dot’s Pretzels would further accelerate our success in the permissible salty snack category, along with our successful SkinnyPop and Pirate’s Booty brands,” said Michele G. Buck, president and chief executive officer of The Hershey Co.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why Hershey ventured into the pretzel category. Just connect the dots. Marrying sweet with savory, like chocolate and pretzels, is one of the most popular trends in the snack industry these days.