Inflation Is Affecting The Way We Snack

If you're a fan of having a mid-day candy bar or munching on a bag of chips while watching Netflix, these days you may have found yourself thinking twice about tossing snacks into your cart when perusing the grocery store aisles. Numbers released earlier this year by The Shelby Report tallying snack sales in 2022 suggested that sales were up. While inflation brought price increases in pretty much everything (including snacks), consumers were so attached to their chips and pretzels that they were willing to pay more for such items. However, stats from the beginning of 2023 suggest things have gone downhill when it comes to people buying their favorite salty and sweet snacks.

Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader for the market researching company Circana, voiced "concern" about the snacking industry when she spoke at the Sweets & Snacks Expo this week, stating she thinks "we may have pushed the button on pricing almost too much." According to studies conducted by Circana, snack sales have decreased and have been on a downward path through March of this year, and increased prices due to inflation may be to blame (via Food Business News).

Snacking may be down, but prices may be dropping soon

Grocery stores and supermarkets aren't the only places seeing a decline in snack sales. When it comes to restaurants, purchases of snacks are also down compared to those of other main meals, especially at quick-serve joints. Restaurant Business suggests this decline is due to customers curbing spending on "extras" in order to save money.

Prices of snacks are not only a concern in the U.S. but across the pond as well; the government's Office for National Statistics reports that inflation in the UK is growing at record rates. According to Clive Black, head of research at Shore Capital Markets, whether or not Brits are buying snacks all has to do with income levels, and things aren't looking up for those in the lower brackets. "If we look at UK households, the bottom 20-25% of income have got no money. In the main, they're probably not buying luxury confectionery and snacks," Black said in an interview with Just Food.

So what's to be done? Some stores, such as Aldi, Wegmans, and Kroger, have committed to dropping prices on a number of items over Memorial Day weekend to entice shoppers to purchase more. Additionally, Sally Lyons Wyatt voiced positivity at this year's Sweets & Snacks Expo when it comes to bulk snack sales. "Multi-packs are an area where we continue to see growth," she said (via Food Business News).