Snacking is more nuanced than you might think. A recent Nielsen report revealed that people who snack can be divided into three distinct "types". If you want your snacks and drinks to appeal to everyone, you need to know how to reach all three. Which category do you fall into, and how can you appeal to shoppers with wildly different snacking habits?


Globally, this is the most common type of snacker; it represents someone who usually snacks at home and sticks to a few favorite products. They stock up in bulk and are hesitant to add new snacks to the mix. Planners must be persuaded to peruse your in-store display, which means marketing the merits of new products in advance. Send an email, hang a poster, or mail fliers if you want planners to buy your snacks.


The convenience store is already notoriously dependent on spontaneous and impulse buys, and when it comes to snacking, this group is particularly valuable. Spontaneous snackers eat their purchases right away, are more eager to try new flavors and products, and they're drawn to store displays and signs. Is that breakfast bar especially low in calories? Did that candy company just release a new flavor? Make the best qualities of your snacks highly visible, and display them near registers and lines. You can inspire spontaneous snacking by hanging a glossy donut photo over the sugar and milk dispenser, or placing a chiller full of brand new tea right next to the condiment station. You might even advertise a snack right on the coffee cup holder.


The purposeful snacker is selective, brand-loyal and thrifty. They're also getting more and more common, as environmental, ethical and nutritional concerns continue to arise within the food industry. Brands and stores lure purposeful consumers by emphasizing sustainability and organic, fair-trade and locally sourced ingredients, as well as by holding generous name-brand sales and offering premium or gourmet products. Purposeful shoppers want to get what they're paying for, but they're willing to pay extra for high-quality ingredients or products that support fair trade efforts. Because these snackers are sensitive to deals, you can usually attract them with well-advertised discounts on "special" products like fair trade chips or gourmet cookies.