Must-Haves for Today’s Impulse Section

Styling and Photography by Laurie Mosco

In a world of ever-changing consumer habits, snack selection has remained constant. Snacking is still spontaneous with 72% of consumers not planning their snacks, instead simply grabbing as needed (National Confectioners Association). For one-third of these consumers, the impulse section is part of the snacking experience (National Confectioners Association).  Even as impulse sections evolve beyond traditional cashiered lanes to include self-serve checkouts, self-serve corrals, and grab-and-go sections, must-have items are emerging, regardless of format.  Check out these tips for the must-haves to create an on-point point of sale.

Better for you Beverages  

Though we traditionally think of sweet and snacks at the impulse section, beverages are becoming a top item.  Specifically, better-for-you beverages, with 42% of consumers saying they’re seeking better for you beverages at impulse. Functional ingredients are also in hot demand, so sprinkle in beverages touting these ingredients like Smart Juice Organic Probiotics juice blends.  Smart Juice offers refreshing flavors like Cherry, Mango Orange, and Cucumber Mint, plus functional probiotics to quench their thirst for both taste and better-for-you benefits. That the functional ingredients are found in the product name make it easy to identify as better-for-you during last-minute impulse section decisions.

Snacks that Satisfy

Even with consumers looking for better-for-you beverages, indulgence still rules the impulse section with 59% of consumers saying they’re seeking indulgent snack options (National Confectioners Association). Make it exciting by offering a new spin on iconic indulgent flavors. 

Everyone loves birthday cake and s’mores, but they’re not exactly made for snacking on the go.  Pack those flavors into puffy, poppable, and portable Stuffed Puffs Big Bites Stuffed Marshmallows in Birthday Cake and S’mores flavors and you have an instant impulse hit.

Size draws attention and makes a snack extra indulgent.  Like when beloved Ghirardelli Squares get re-imagined into a big bar like Ghirardelli Squared Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Bar, or for the chocolate connoisseur,  Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar. For a really bold statement, go oversized with Clever Candy’s Giant Gummy Bear. Bold, beary cute, and tremendously tasty with a super chew, Clever Candy Giant Gummy Bears are individually packaged in bear shaped containers for a dynamic look, sure to engage customers.

Waiting on those longer self-serve corrals can be tough. Make the time go quicker with a little trip down memory lane — add single serve nostalgic items to your self serve corrals and grab & go sections. Customers will go ga ga for the original combination candy bar, the Goo Goo Cluster. Not only will they find the clusters of creamy milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, and fluffy marshmallow nougat irresistible, but the old time, bold red lettering lets them know they’re in for some old-fashioned fun.  Appeal to their inner child with the classic flavors of Cocoa Pebbles Milk Chocolate and Fruity Pebbles Candy bars.  They’ll immediately be drawn to the Pebbles cereal branding, but what will make for serial sales is that each creamy candy and milk chocolate bar is filled with the crispy classic cereal!  

Standup bags are growing in popularity at impulse, particularly at the checkout (National Confectioners Association). Stand out from the rest with standup bags full of gratifying flavors like Theo Cookie Bites. Two consumer favorites, cookies and chocolate, come together in bite-sized pieces that will “bake” them crazy.  All their cookie cravings are covered with Double Chocolate, Mint Chocolate and Snickerdoodle Cookie Bites varieties.  Theo products are made with Fair Trade chocolate which will satisfy their craving for sustainability, too.

Better-for-You Snacks

Even with indulgent snacks getting top billing, better-for-you snacks aren’t far behind.  43% of consumers are seeking healthy snacks at impulse according to the National Confectioners Association.

There are many ways to appeal to their more wholesome cravings. One way is with classic confections made with simple ingredients.  For the licorice lovers that means a favorite made with real sugar, natural flavors, and Non-GMO ingredients like Red Vines Made Simple Blueberry Pomegranate Licorice Twists.  If they’re wishing for a single serving option, they’ll find Panda Strawberry Licorice Bars, made with 4 simple ingredients, un-BEAR-able to resist.

45% of Americans named reducing their sugar intake as a top goal for 2022, so low sugar sweets and snacks will pique their interest (Food Business News). We like Unreal.  Made with Fair Trade Chocolate, Non-GMO ingredients in a lower sugar recipe, Unreal’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars, serve up classic indulgent flavors while meeting today’s lifestyle trends. Another low sugar brand that’s great for the impulse is SmartStweets. Low sugar versions of candy icons like Gummy Worms, Red Twists, and Lollipops, in vibrant packaging will serve up those kid-in-a-candy-store feelings.   

Pair simple ingredients with functional ones, like the ginger found in Gem Gem Chewy Ginger Candy and consumers will flock to it. Anti-oxidant rich ginger paired with delightful flavors like Lemon, Mango or for those who want to keep it simple, Just Ginger are a delight. Add in whimsical graphics and brilliant colors and Gem Gem will be the ginger chews they choose again and again.

Don’t forget savory snackers.  They want better-for-you snacks, too!  10% of snackers are also looking for plant-based options, so include a plant-based spin on a savory snack classic like Hippeas (National Confectioners Association).  Their yellow bags are always a ray of sunshine anywhere they’re merchandised.  But once consumers dig deeper and see that Hippeas are made with chickpeas, and offer loads of fiber and protein along with beloved flavors like Vegan White Cheddar, and Nacho Vibes, they’re not going to want to let them go.

Snack bars, the OG of better-for-you snacks, are an impulse section must. Here it’s all about ingredients and fun with flavor.  Like Go Macro Cherries and Berries vegan, gluten free, snack bars loaded with wholesome rolled oats, dates, and dried cranberries. They create a natural sweet flavor that tastes like summer!  Keto is still a popular lifestyle trend, which is why a snack bar with Keto in the name like Keto Crisp Chocolate Mint Bar will grab their attention.

If they’re looking for a sensible snack bar that doesn’t taste like a sensible snack, they’ll find Lenny & Larry’s Cookified Bars crumb-believable. A blend of Lenny and Larry’s Complete cookie pieces, semi sweet chocolate, and other mix-ins, Cookified Bars come in comforting flavors like Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Cookies & Cream to offer consumers the best of both snacking worlds.

When it comes to snacking, consumers’ selection is spur of the moment.  Create a spark of snacking inspiration in your impulse section with a variety of innovative indulgences, and better-for-you beverages and snacks.

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