Study: Afternoon Is Peak Sweet Snacking Time

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Minneapolis — The results of a study conducted by General Mills Convenience & Foodservice shows that the afternoon is the most common time consumers look for indulgent snacks in convenience stores and those purchases are usually unplanned.

General Mills, Inc.’s study sought to better understand shoppers’ sweet snack buying behaviors throughout the day and how those types of snacks meet different needs.

“While consumers tend to place more focus on health in this day and age, sweet snacking is not slowing down when it comes to convenience stores,” says Kelly Kees, a consumer insights researcher at General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. “C-store shoppers still want to indulge and are seeking out sweet treats that deliver on great taste and also have some elements of nutrition, like nut butters, fruit flavors or real foods.”

General Mills Info Graphic

The study, which surveyed more than 3,000 convenience store food and beverage shoppers, ages 18 to 54 nationwide, found that more than two thirds of sweet snack purchases are not planned. Furthermore, 48 percent of those shoppers sought out sweet snacks in the afternoon, making it the most popular time for the segment at convenience stores.

In fact, a subsegment of sweet snacks, which General Mills dubs “Afternoon Indulgence,” makes up 70 percent of unit share of scannable items. Those sweet snacks include fruity candies, bite-size non-chocolate items, indulgent rich chocolates, especially those that included caramel, and crunchy nut-filled chocolates.

The second largest time-specific group, with an 18 percent unit share, is “Sweet Start Mornings,” which was largely dominated by ready-to-eat packaged bakery items. “Anytime Munching,” a category filled out by non time-specific snacks that have slightly more nutritional value, rounded out the study with 13 percent market share.

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