What snacks will work in my vending machines? This is a question asked by many, made more difficult by the fact that the food industry is marked by rapid-fire new introductions. Driven by shifts in consumer demographics, nutritional awareness and flavor trends, there are a multitude of new products making their debut every month. And it all comes down to what consumers want.
What DO they want? According to IRI Worldwide:
- 75% want snacks that are guaranteed fresh
- 58% want snacks that have some nutritional value
- 57% want snacks that are all natural
This is a reflection of lifestyle shifts in America; with an increasing emphasis on health and wellness. Snacking is still okay. In fact most have 2.5 snacks per day, and 63% nosh on something they consider a treat. That said, many consumers are often making choices that they consider to be better for them, whether they be organic, paleo or simply lower in sugars.
This does not, however, mean that snackers are willing to sacrifice flavor. And while people generally know what they like, boring is definitively not the big winner. Spicy, cheese, and tomato flavors are ‘hot’, in combinations that defy the norm. Chocolate remains a favorite but the Hershey’s bar has been outpaced by chocolate with things like salt, caramel and mocha.
What’s next? According to IRI, we may see more options with caffeine or even collagen. Smoothies still make a statement, refrigerated wellness bars are gaining in popularity and snacking ‘kits’ are catching on. Stay tuned. Change will keep coming and it should be taken into consideration as you work with your vending partner to select snacks vending for your machines or micromarket.