Although sales growth in the independent sector has slowed in the past few weeks due to the unsettled weather, annual growth is still a very creditable 5.85%, according to SalesOut.
This month the analysts have turned their focus to crisps and snacks, an important category in a recession as people treat themselves at home.
SalesOut commercial director Steve Collins says: "Despite a slowdown in growth over the past quarter to a little less than 1%, the crisps and snacks category remains buoyant with an annual growth rate of 6.7%. Sharing packs are outperforming the category with 20% growth year on year and 25% growth in the past quarter, due to an increase in home-based entertainment."
SalesOut recommends the following as a minimum within this sub-category: Doritos Cool Original 225g; Doritos Tangy Cheese 225g; Kettle Chips Lightly Salted 150g; Kettle Chips Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar 150g; Pringles Original 155g; and Pringles Sour Cream & Onion 155g.
Collins adds: "Sharing packs present an opportunity to increase basket size with associated products such as dips, which saw double-digit growth in the past year. Microwave popcorn is also selling well as people create the cinema experience at home.
"Premium products have seen 18% year-on-year growth and even higher growth in recent months. Nuts are showing some decline in sales, but premium products such as cashews are selling well.
"Multipacks have declined year on year due to aggressive activity by the multiples, but consumer demand is high and c-store retailers can win back a share of the market by stocking the right products."
Says Collins: "To maximise sales, it is essential that displays are merchandised to high standards using good quality fixture equipment which neatly separates products and sub-categories to maximise impact.
"Merchandising sharing packs in complementary locations such as the licensed section is also essential to drive impulse purchases."
SalesOut has analysed purchasing trends across the more than 150 snacks SKUs stocked by a typical wholesaler and devised a must-stock list. Find it at www.thegrocer.co.uk/independents.