Consumer demand for healthier options shows no signs of slowing and with increased media awareness and government legislation, it is a category that all retailers need to be aware of.

Understanding the core differences between the average shopper and the healthy snacking shopper is essential in being able to target them and provide a suitable range, writes HIM’s Zoe Jag-Nathan.

The recent HIM Healthy Snacking Report 2018 shows that the healthy snacking shopper is likely to be a younger male, as opposed to the average shopper aged 45 and female, with a larger budget to spend.

The study also finds that different age groups of healthy shoppers have varying preferences when it comes to channel of shop – for example, the younger healthy snacking shopper prefers using the online channel and health specialists to shop. This highlights how pivotal it is to get online right, and how these shoppers seek expertise when buying into this category.

Healthy snacking can seem a daunting category to tackle with its sheer scale, big players and the differing perceptions of health among shoppers, however when looked at by sub-category it becomes a lot more manageable. The HIM research breaks down some core products within the category to provide insight into who is buying them, and why are they buying them. Protein bars, for example, are bought 0.5 times a week, predominantly as a snack (46%), with the top three importances for shoppers being protein content (54%), calories (38%) and sugar content (38%).

The report also highlights the specifics about what healthy snacking shoppers look for ingredients-wise in their desired products, with ‘no added sugar’, ‘100% natural ingredients’ and ‘containing plant-based protein’ among the factors.

With 69% of shoppers open to trying new things, there is a huge opportunity for retailers to take risks in order to find out what works for their stores and customers – for example, innovative ingredients, production methods, packaging or flavours. This is not a category that can be ignored by store owners and failure to act now will limit the huge potential it offers.