State of Specialty Snacks

June 12, 2018

At last month’s Sweets & Snacks Expo, experts from SPINS and KeHE shared data on the growth in the specialty snack industry. As specialty continues to provide increased margins, we’re sharing the latest insights to help retailers capture the untapped potential of the specialty category.

Let’s start with the big question. How are snacks performing in 2018?

  • Increase of $89 million in sales
  • $2.0% dollar growth

What’s especially interesting is that natural and specialty snacks account for 20% of sales volume, but are driving almost 70% of dollar gains. Natural & specialty snacks have grown by 7.1% over the last year, while conventional snack growth has been more flat at 0.8%.

With natural snacks on the upswing, nutritional claims are still showing great importance. Here are the largest growths for diet and certifications:

  • Paleo: +116.2%, $169M
  • Organic: +9.8%, $2.7B
  • Labeled Non-GMO: +12.1%, $9.1B
  • Allergy Friendly: +13.0%, $96.2M
  • Fair Trade: +13.0%, $1.3B


Key Takeaways

Health & Wellness is driving industry growth.

Specialty and natural products are driving the growth in snacking.


Consumer expectations have raised the bar.

Shoppers are seeking brands who are make it easier to adhere to their diet and who are stepping up to play an active stewardship role.


Winning brands are innovating around unique ways of eating.

Indulgence and convenience categories are seeing innovation from plant-based, high fat, and Paleo-friendly options in addition to alternative formats.


Salty Snacks continue domination.

Retailers are expanding salty snack offerings and adding shelf space for on trend items, while also seizing opportunities in the perimeter of the store.


CLICK HERE for the full State of Specialty presentation and to learn more about why rice cakes are the fastest growing snack category and wellness bars continue to innovate.

Tags: snacks, specialty snacks, sweets & snacks

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