While not as big as the salty snack category, according to a new report by Nielsen, snackable produce (grapes, cherries, bananas, baby carrots, oranges, mandarins, apples, berries and stone fruits) have seen a 10% annual growth rate each year from 2012 to 2016, and as of late May 2017 had amassed sales of $16.3 billion.

In order to keep up with growing sales, manufacturers and retailers have added 900 new snacking items to shelves during the 2012 – 2016 period, of which 600 consisted of individual servings of fresh cut fruit. Nationally, 32% of U.S. homes buy on-the-go produce snacks, with families being the top buyers.

By the end of May, while looking at consumer trends, Nielsen was able to determine that retailers were able to sell $117 million in mixed fruits though mixed fruits paired with at least one other item rivaled closely in sales.

Fresh fruit was also determined, by 44%, to be the stand-out winner, in regards to produce snacking. Fresh smoothies followed behind by 27%, snacking vegetables by 17%, dried fruit/nut snack mixes by 7% and fruit cups by 5%. This ratio may have been affected due to fruit items intended for snacking being four times more prevalent on grocery shelves than vegetables.

In addition, private-label and unbranded on-the-go snacking is in an under-represented space, which could serve as an opportunity for retailers to build sales and market shares, Nielsen recommended.

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 8/16/2017