Not Your Parent’s Private Label Snack Foods
October 1, 2021
How young consumers are transforming the natural snack foods market…
Private label foods, once considered lower-cost alternatives to brands, have emerged as a distinct category of high-quality products preferred by many consumers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the rapidly expanding category of healthful snacks. This includes private label snack nuts and trail mixes.
According to IRI, in the last year both private label snack nuts and private label trail mix grew 4% faster than their branded alternatives. These trends are expected to grow as younger consumers increase their share of the overall grocery market.
Private label is still a significantly larger portion of the market in Europe than in the US, but US private label sales are catching up rapidly. While private label is growing with consumers of all ages, the 18 to 34-year-old consumer is the largest single driver of growth for high-quality private label snacks and other foods. This is driving the tremendous increase in quality and variety among leading private label snacks, and other private label foods.
Recent data confirms that brand loyalty among younger consumers continues to plummet. Is private label the beneficiary of this trend, or the cause? Data would suggest, both. Consumers are realizing the quality of today’s private label foods, with 77% confirming that the quality of private label products has continued to increase. That private label alternatives are also more affordable is an added bonus, not the driving criteria.
Younger consumers are looking for high-quality products that are socially responsible, ethically sourced, and packaged in an environmentally friendly way. This includes all product categories, including private label snack nuts and trail mixes.
According to a recent Mintel study, 63% of young adult shoppers will purchase private label foods if the packaging includes where the product is produced. This is a meaningful change from simply buying a brand label, or glancing at ingredients panel as their parents are more likely to do.
Less inclined to respond to slick advertising campaigns, younger consumers are informed and educated. They also want to experience products before purchasing them. 74% of the same young consumers (ages 18 to 34) are more likely to purchase products which they can sample before purchasing. This has a tremendous leveling effect, as the “best” product, in the opinion of the consumer, is the one that will win.
While private label snacks, such as snack nuts and trail mixes are typically priced slightly lower than branded alternatives, they actually share a cost advantage. Unlike branded counterparts, these high-quality private label snacks and private label foods are not supporting massive advertising budgets. This allows private label manufacturers to put that money into R&D, product innovation, quality ingredients, ethical sourcing, and sustainable packaging. Younger consumers value these product traits.
In the past, private label product development consisted of finding a way to create a lower cost alternative of a branded product that approximated the taste and texture of the original. This is no longer the case.
Today’s leading private label snack manufacturers, such as Flagstone Foods, invest heavily into research, R&D, product formulation, sampling programs, nutritional analysis, and other processes normally attributed to national brands. The result is a wide array of high-quality nut, trail mix, and other natural and healthful snacks that are often unique, and beyond anything available for comparable national brands.
So, who is the winner in this national brands versus high-quality private label competition? “The ultimate winner in the marketplace always must be the consumer,” said Bob Scalia, CEO Flagstone foods, “we invest heavily in developing innovative, high-quality products on behalf of our customers, enabling them to provide consumers with new choices. It is a proven formula and for us a highly effective way of growing our private label snack nut and trail mix business.”
For more information on Flagstone Foods and their family of high-quality trail mixes and snack nuts, visit flagstonefoods.com.