Retailing Trends: Consumers Are Taking A Healthy Approach To Their Energy Crisis

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Consumers Are Taking A Healthy Approach To Their Energy Crisis

As the world continues to move at warp speed, a growing awareness of health has shifted consumers away from quick fixes like caffeine and sugar as sources of energy. Healthy energy and snacking was once a niche market, but it is poised to emerge as a lasting national trend: healthy snacks grew faster than indulgent snacks in 2013.1

Today’s consumers are cognizant of what they are eating and what effects different food has on their bodies. It’s resulting in an increased demand for high protein energy sources like energy bars, trail mix, granola and fortified drinks that function as long-lasting fuel for the body. According to a January 2013 Mintel report, 46% of all meal-replacement users in the U.S. state that high protein is an important selection attribute and 87% indicate satiety as an important food attribute when choosing products.2

Who is the healthy energy consumer?

  • Teenagers and younger adults: More than a third of 18-24 year olds are actively buying foods and beverages that improve their physical energy3 They are looking for energy drinks and snacks that help them to stay awake and alert, and to pull through late nights and long days.
  • Families with children: Studies show that this group eats snack bars more than any other household type. There is great opportunity for bars and other nutritional foods to be purchased by kids as children are encouraged to eat healthier by their parents.4
  • Women: 55% of people who have eaten a granola bar in the past 30 days are women, accounting for approximately 15.2 million consumers.5 These women are weight managers seeking energy to fuel their lifestyles.
  • Men 35-44: Men are the most likely to consume energy bars for fitness/exercise reasons.6 They turn to energy sources like snack bars for their nutritional value, protein, vitamins and nutrients.

What are healthy energy consumers looking for?

  • Long-lasting: Consumers want energy that lasts. About 40% of consumers eat granola, cereal and breakfast bars to improve their energy and focus.7 This is resulting in record growth for the energy bar industry, with projected category sales of almost $3 billion by 2016.8
  • Nutrient-rich: 32% of consumers are making a strong effort to eat more food/drinks that are naturally rich in nutrients, and 42% are concerned about the nutrient content of the foods they buy.9
  • All natural: All-natural products have the highest share of consumer packaged goods that feature wellness claims.10
  • Snack attack: Trail mix, with its dual appeal of healthy energy and snackability, outperformed potato chips in convenience in 201311 as a popular snack.
  • Less processing, please: Over half of consumers say that they are trying to minimize the amount of processed food they eat.12

Rapid lifestyles require fast-paced energy sources. Consumers want energy sources that can be consumed on the go, making C-stores the ideal source for energy foods. Two thirds of consumers (and 96% of heavy C-Store shoppers) believe Convenience stores should carry more healthy foods.13 Displaying healthy energy products at check out or at the end of aisles will help this growing consumer segment find what they need quickly so that they can get back on the road and on with their day.

1 IRI, Snaxpo State of the Snack Industry, March 2014
2 Mintel, Nutritional Food and Drink Report, January 2013
3 Datamonitor, Vitality & Balance Report, April 2013
4 Mintel, Nutritional Food and Drink Report, January 2013
5 IFT.org, 2/3/14, “To 10- Functional Food Trends.”
6 Mintel, Nutritional Food and Drink Report, Jan 2013
7 Mintel, Nutritional Food and Drink Report, January 2013
8 Euromonitor, Snack Bars Market Size, March 24, 2014
9 MSI, 2010
10 IDDBA 2011
11 Nielsen, Convenience, 52 Weeks Ending January 18, 2014
12 Mintel, Attitudes Toward Healthy Food , June 2012
13 Mintel, Convenience Stores, March 2014

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