Confectionery Conversation: Snacking and sharing ‘key to growth’

By Charlotte Turner |

Be-Kind-MarsIn the second edition of this year’s Confectionery Conversation – a monthly column which shines a spotlight on the confectionery category, sponsored by Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail – Charlotte Turner discovers more about the snacking and sharing segment and how confectionery companies are keen to tap into a clear demand for a more diverse offering.


*This column appeared inside the February issue of TRBusiness magazine.


According to research compiled by m1nd-set, gifting tops the list of reasons to purchase confectionery in duty free; a fact which has dominated the narrative in confectionery retail for many years. Perhaps this is why some believe that snacking and sharing, which fall into second and third place respectively, are not being taken as seriously as they should in the travel retail environment.


So what do we know about snacking and sharing consumers? In a study commissioned for a large confectionery supplier, m1nd-set discovered that confectionery shoppers who buy for themselves are more likely to consume their purchases during the trip, at the airport or during the flight, than those who buy to share or gift.


Browsing in order to find a snack is more common amongst self-indulgent shoppers than amongst those looking for products to share.



NITR General Manager Stewart Dryburgh.


Insights such as these pertaining to snacking and sharing in particular have become increasingly valuable to a number of confectionery suppliers. One of these companies is, Nestlé International Travel Retail (NITR). As part of its ‘10 in 10’ ambition – to double the size of the confectionery and fine foods category to $10bn in the next 10 years – NITR has renewed its commitment to the ‘snackers and sharers’ by repackaging its YES! fruit and nut bars in global travel retail.


Now wrapped in recyclable paper packaging, Nestlé says this range meets consumer needs in one of NITR’s ten category growth drivers: ‘Healthy snack, healthy treats’.


“NITR consumer insights have shown that ‘Better For You’ is one of the three key reasons for purchasing by travellers and, within that, healthy snacks and better treats are driving category growth,” affirms NITR General Manager Stewart Dryburgh.


Other confectionery companies have told TRBusiness that insights into what motivates the snacking and sharing consumer have become greatly important if the category wants to take advantage of a ‘€1bn opportunity’.


“This really is the overlooked opportunity in confectionery travel retail,” says Maud Geerbex, Corporate Affairs Director ITR.



“The need for on-the-go snacking options is a reality; 28% of travellers tell us they want it, creating a €1bn opportunity. The macro trend here is that consumers live more fluid lives than they did before. They are constantly on the go (especially those that travel) and expect instant fulfilment.”


Wonderful Pistachios is experiencing stronger growth due to the popularity of plant-based diets

“There is a growing need for products which don’t contain chocolate and sugar.” – James Kfouri, Director of Sales Australia, South East Asia and Global Travel Retail, Wonderful Pistachios.

However, in travel retail Mars believes that the industry is not yet catering to that reality. “With conversion still the main challenge, we need to start…the need for on-the-go snacking cannot be ignored.”


Mars Wrigley ITR believes there is a clear demand for more diverse and nutritious snacks. “Consumers are more health conscious.


“They want more holistically-healthy options,” adds Geerbex. “Mars Wrigley ITR has a portfolio that offers something for diverse on-the-go needs, but it is important to take a category view on this – there needs to be something for those looking to refresh (gum, mints) and those looking to recharge (bars).”


Evidence of the growing demand for healthier and more diverse snacks within duty free can be found in the evolution of Wonderful Pistachios; a brand which is growing steadily in popularity.


This is due to a number of factors including the creation of a healthy eating and snacking sub-category.


“The growth of this sub-category of healthy eating and snacking options has highlighted the need for products which don’t contain chocolate and sugar,” James Kfouri, Director of Sales Australia, South East Asia and Global Travel Retail, Wonderful Pistachios.


“They’re solving the consumer need for more plant-based protein options, especially when travellers are looking for a nutritious and satisfying snack while travelling.”

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