Summer Snack Sales Boom: Convenience Store Guide to Maximize Profits

The convenience retail guide to summer snacking

Summer Snack Sales Blog image 1: a Young lady eating pizza outside, wearing sunglasses and holding a glass bottle of cloudy lemonade

There is a massive opportunity for retailers to capitalise on snacking missions all year round and even more potential across the summer period to utilise this across multiple categories.

The findings from Mintel’s UK Consumer Snacking Market Report show that 96% of UK consumers have eaten snacks in the past two weeks and retailers such as Sarj Patel are benefitting from this.

According to the owner of Pasture Lane Stores in Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire, he experiences high sales across fresh, food to go, soft drinks, alcohol and confectionery. “Customers often want a picky lunch when it’s hot outside, so we have to cater for that,” he says.

Building a strong picnic and barbecue range

Summer Snack Sales Blog Image 2: A group of friends indulging on BBQ food outside on a summers evening

Think about your core audience during summer events. This will most likely be families, but plenty of young people will have picnics or see their friends. From here, consider which products are bought on impulse when warmer weather hits, like coal or disposable barbecues. Furthermore, by including fresh products, it’s possible for retailers to build a full meal and picnic offer.

“We make sure to stock large barbecue buckets and bags of charcoal, so customers are covered,” explains Priyesh Vekaria, owner of One Stop Salford in Greater Manchester.

You can then determine the right products to stock, such as strong sellers like crisp multipacks and nuts, or family and young shopper favourites such as ice cream and sugar confectionery. “Ice cream is always a big seller for us, as no-one sells it nearby,” Patel says. “And with a park opposite, customers always come into the store and buy more throughout the day.”

Store owners should listen to ongoing trends to help gauge purchasing behaviour. Although health is unlikely to be a core focus if buying for an impromptu day out, a small minority will want to stick to their health goals. Salads and other low-calorie options, like popcorn, will help you meet these missions.

Driving spend of your summer snacking range

Summer Snack Sales Boom: Convenience Store Guide to Maximize Profits - Blog Images New 19

Snacking is only half of what retailers need to consider. To create a full meal solution, make sure to focus on soft drinks and alcohol, or as Vekaria has done, create your own range of alcohol slushies to pair with your snacks range.

“We cycle through menus and offer various cocktails. We have one machine that’s programmed to dispense alcohol, which I modified myself,” he says. “We have found a way to ensure carbonated drinks don’t lose its fizz, which helps the taste last.”

Finally, think about offering reusable products used for picnics and barbecues. Vekaria now stocks reusable plasticware. “They can be used for snacks, soft drinks, etc, throughout the year, and it helps cut down on littering, too” he says. “We also price them similarly to disposable products, which helps make them more attractive.”

Frozen dried sweets are also sweeping the convenience industry, and these offer an alternative to ice cream. Vas Vekaria, from Kegs ‘n’ Blades in Bolton has launched his own range – Fantastic Freeze – which is already proving popular among retailers, with RRPs starting from £4 for a 50g bag.

Focusing on premium products

Snaffling Pig Sharing Board of snacks with beer, dips and chutney

Premium products typically offer higher margins and consumers are less concerned about price when stocking up on picnic and barbecue items.

The key to driving sales of your premium range, according to Vekaria, is finding a balance. “We have to be mindful of how we range them,” he says. “In retail, 20% drives 80% of your store’s volume, so you need to focus on that 20%. But within that 20%, half could be geared towards premium products.”

Vekaria also recommends finding products that offer premium packaging, but with a low price.

Patel echoes this advice but concludes: “Kettle Chips are strong sellers and they have a premium look to them. Sometimes all you need is everyday products with a premium look to drive spend.”

Retailers can go one step further by offering premium sharing snacks from Epicurium, such as Propercorn, Olly’s pretzels or Snaffling Pig.

Planning in-store theatre and marketing

Building an effective display of your summer snacking range can mean the difference between winning a sale or not.

“I will get merchandising labelling where I can, so I’ll reach out to suppliers,” Vekaria explains. “We’ll then create vinyls and branding, particularly for our slush machine. For Gordon’s Pink Gin Lemonade slushies, I’ll reach out to Diageo, and this PoS will allow us to capture audiences of different age ranges from 18 and above.”

Any product that is different to your core range – and bought in specifically for summer – should be advertised on your social media. Check various weather websites, like the Met Office or BBC Weather, and plan posts around impromptu heatwaves.

If a hot day is coming up, create a post around your barbecues and picnic ranges, like premium snacks, food to go and ready-to-eat products, like sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, scotch eggs and pork pies. This will help you grow as a destination store for all things summer.

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