What are the most popular types of chips in C-Stores?

Spicy flavor profiles and brands with trendy flavor extensions grab the attention of convenience store customers.

As the potato chip category makes a post-pandemic comeback, the most popular items continue to be those that feature spicy, dramatic flavors and / or are seen as a healthier choice.

Crisps are a convenience store staple, of course, but COVID-19 has seriously damaged the business. Convenience store sales declined in 2020 primarily because pandemic concerns have caused consumers to limit their purchases to one stop, primarily at mass / grocery / club stores, according to NielsenIQ.

As expected, however, the business has rebounded. According to IRI statistics, for the 52-week period ending October 31, 2021, the convenience store channel saw potato chip sales reach nearly $ 1.8 billion and increase 8.0% from the previous year. At the same time, tortilla / tostada chips recorded sales of just over $ 1.2 billion, an increase of 10.4%.

A look at some of the best-selling potato chip flavors across America shows where consumers are in terms of taste: Backyard Barbeque, Salt and Vinegar, Sour Cream and Onion, Sweet and Spicy Jalapeño, Flamin ‘Hot, Sea Salt and Crush Black Pepper, roast chicken, cheddar and sour cream, southern cookies and sauce, Dijon honey, chili lime, aged cheddar horseradish, fresh ranch, pizza, French onion dip, sweet Maui onion.

“I think anything with a spicy flavor profile is doing well right now,” suggested Mike Jackson, category manager for High’s Stores in Baltimore, Maryland. “Spicy flavor extensions on existing brands have seen their sales increase.”

Indeed, more than one leading brand has introduced “hot” extensions to its product offerings. “These extensions worked really well without cannibalizing the base flavors,” Jackson said of one. Another manufacturer based in the South bought a brand of spicy crisps in order to expand their range of flavors. “We introduced them to our stores and they worked really well. “

Due to growing health awareness among consumers around the world – spurred in part, ironically, by the pandemic – several chip makers are launching value-added products that are healthier than traditional chips, according to marketresearch. com. These include products that are reduced in fat and calories, fortified with healthy ingredients, lower in cholesterol and more. Gluten-free, non-GMO, sea salt-based crisps in natural colors and flavors are gaining popularity over traditional varieties.

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Edward L. Robinett