Today, companies have started to expand their variety again to drive sales. “The death of the variety that everyone predicted didn’t happen. It came back in full force,” said Krishnakumar Davey, chair of IRI’s strategic analysis practice. “People are fed up with seeing the same products.”
Hot sauce and sardines: new and strong returns
In order to meet the increase in demand last year, spice maker McCormick “has temporarily suspended production of many secondary products to ensure availability of top-selling products. [items]a spokesperson for the company said in an email.
But Smucker resumed normal production levels and added these products back. It’s now focusing again on product launches, such as the recent introductions of Jif Natural Squeeze peanut butter and Smucker’s Uncrustables kids’ snacks.
Part of this is due to an increased demand for packaged food with more people working from home rather than the office.
“It is important that we provide additional solutions for snacks at lunchtime and outside the home,” she said.
Dan Hofmeister, senior vice president of brand marketing at tuna maker Bumble Bee, said in an email that his item count increased 36% to 307 different items since falling to 225 last year.
“As demand begins to normalize, we have started to gradually introduce temporarily suspended items,” said Hofmeister. Bumble Bee recently launched new lines of tuna snacks and bowls, as well as albacore in olive oil and new lines of sardines.
Grocery stores also say they are getting more options from manufacturers for stocking their shelves.
The company is experiencing the most varied expansion into baking, dairy, frozen meals and savory snacks and candies, DeVol said.
“The increase in home snacks is driving the need for innovation as consumers want to try new snacks and treats,” she said.
Overall, the variety of many staples in the grocery store has expanded.
The average number of salty snacks in stores rose 10.9% in the three months ending July 11 compared to the same period last year, according to the latest IRI data. The selection of energy drinks increased by 11.5%, pre-mixed cocktails by 79.2% and pastries by 14.8% during the period.