A nutty but novel way to boost salty snack sales

October 27, 2014
2 min read

Family-owned online retailer Nuts.com reached $30 million in revenue last year, according to an August 2014 Bloomberg article. The website, in a nutshell, evolved from a New Jersey brick-and-mortar store, has grown its sales dramatically over the last 10 years, despite competition from other retail channels, namely natural and specialty food stores, as well as mega online retailers, such as Amazon.com. Nuts.com offers an extensive variety of nuts, dried fruit, snacks, and more, and shoppers can easily navigate the site to find exactly the type of product they’re looking for.

The salty snacks industry, including the chips, popcorn, and nuts categories, continues to perform well, a result of consumer interest in snacking, greater product variety, and retail availability. Americans continue to ditch traditional meals in favor of all-day snacking occasions, allowing them the flexibility of eating whatever and whenever they please. Interest in healthy eating has proved well for the nuts segment specifically, which is viewed positively for a variety of health benefits and for its satiating property.

US consumers are rather price sensitive when purchasing salty snacks and also fairly brand loyal. Among those who purchase salty snacks, 55% indicate a low price is an important factor, while one third (33%) indicate a well-known brand is important. Consumers also are interested in new flavors and varieties, as well as natural and better-for-you options.

Most category sales originate in supermarkets which represent 43% market share in 2013, with sales of $9.4 billion. Other retail channels, including supercenters, convenience stores, and natural food stores, represent 5% market share and sales of $11.7 billion in 2013.

Nuts.com has thrived while stacked up against larger retailers looking to profit from consumer interest in healthy snacking. The website has a strong focus on its roots as a family-owned store and adopts a personal and friendly voice that resonates with many consumers, building that brand loyalty that is so important to the category. Although sales mainly stem from brick-and-mortar stores, Nuts.com is proving it can make itself known amid its biggest competitors.

Amanda Topper is an analyst specializing in the food industry. She is responsible for writing monthly analysis reports providing strategic insight and consultancy across several categories from gluten-free foods and cheese to cereal and snacks.

Amanda Topper
Amanda Topper

Amanda Topper is the Director of US Research: Food, Drink, Foodservice, Flavors & Ingredients, responsible for overseeing all of Mintel’s foodservice offerings, as well as providing insight and competitive analysis across scheduled deliverables, and client and industry presentations.

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