Convenience is key when it comes to attracting customers seeking on-the-go snacks 

In recent years, there has been a notable increase in the popularity of plant-based snacking. This trend is driven by a combination of factors including consumer health consciousness, environmental concerns, ethical considerations, and innovative product development. 

One of the primary drivers behind the growth of plant-based snacking is the ever-increasing belief that plant-based foods are a healthier alternative to more traditional snack options. Trends are showing that more people are actively seeking out nutritious alternatives to traditional snacks, and plant-based options offer an attractive solution to this need. These snacks often contain fewer unhealthy fats, have gut-health properties, and often fewer calories compared to their traditional counterparts. 

Vegan chocolateThe rise of ‘flexitarianism’ is also a big driver in the growth of plant-based snacking – these are people who eat mostly plant-based foods but occasionally eat meat or dairy. This trend is being driven by a number of factors, including concerns about animal welfare, the environment, and personal health. 

Innovation and product development have been key drivers in expanding the range of plant-based snack options available to consumers. Food manufacturers and challenger brands are continuously pushing the boundaries of creativity to develop new and exciting plant-based snacks that cater to a diverse range of tastes and preferences. From plant-based versions of traditional favorites like chocolate, confectionery, and chilled coffees, to innovative products featuring ingredients like seaweed and ancient grains, the variety of plant-based snacks on the market continues to grow. Brands such as LoveRaw have been creating plant-based versions of more traditional chocolate products since 2013, and today is the fastest growing plant-based chocolate brand in the UK. With industry data suggesting that plant-based chocolate will only continue to grow in line with the rising health trend, there is scope for further growth yet in plant-based chocolate. 

There is also increasing evidence to suggest that consumers are becoming ever-more educated about sustainability, with plant-based snacks viewed as more ethical and responsibly produced than their non-plant counterparts. The rise of information accessibility through the internet and social media, as well as the increasingly vocal messaging around climate change and protecting the planet, is seeing consumers become far more aware of the environmental and social implications of their purchasing decisions. This increased awareness has, as a result, led to a greater demand for sustainable products, with the momentum behind this showing no sign of slowing down. Brands are realizing the importance of aligning themselves to consumer values and principles in order to set themselves up for long-term growth. Cultivating a wide and varied plant-based range can lead to enhanced brand reputation, appeal to socially conscious consumers, and differentiate brands from competitors who are solely focused on price. The result of this in the long term is increased customer loyalty, and therefore repeat purchases. 

In response to the demand for plant-based snacks, convenience stores can capitalize on this by stocking and promoting a diverse range of plant-based options. Firstly, by considering plant-based replacements of the traditional products their shoppers are looking for, especially those that are considered inherently unhealthy. Placing these snacks prominently in high-traffic areas of the store, such as near the checkout counter, is a great way to get more eyes on them. Many plant-based snacks also meet the requirements of HFSS and so can fulfil a similar shopper requirement without compromising on legislative restrictions. Additionally, staying ahead of trends in the plant-based food industry is crucial – by regularly updating product offerings with new and innovative plant-based snacks, convenience stores can appeal to consumers’ evolving preferences and remain competitive in the market. 

Convenience is key when it comes to attracting customers seeking on-the-go snacks, so ensuring that plant-based options are convenient to consume while out and about is essential. This can be achieved through single-serve packaging or grab-and-go options. By providing snacks that are not only nutritious and delicious but also easy to enjoy on the move, convenience stores can meet the needs of busy consumers looking for quick and healthy snack options. A plant-based snack can be bought on impulse for the first time, but then encourage loyalty through great taste and health credentials in the long term.  

For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor. 

Epicurium is a UK based healthy snacks wholesaler, offering a wide range of delicious snacks and drinks to meet today’s hottest trends. It provides expert range and category advice to help customers find the right products for their business. Epicurium’s mission is to banish boring snacks and help businesses differentiate their snack offering to better satisfy modern lifestyles. The company helps retailers stand out from the competition and attract a wider range of shoppers; workplaces engage better with their workforce; and cafes, venues, and sports clubs better serve their visitors.