Alternative Snacks Is Ripe With Opportunity

The category provides customers with a taste of the unusual.

April 18, 2022

Beef Jerky Snack

By Sarah Hamaker

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—From puffed veggies to spicy meat sticks, consumers are loving their alternative snacks at convenience stores.

“In 2021, the category exceeded all prior years in sales and showed really strong sales in nearly every month,” said Jayme Gough, research manager, NACS. “This category is a staple for travelers looking for a savory treat, a morning commuter purchasing a snack for later or a dried-meat enthusiast. As more people get back on the roads and start to go back into the office, this category is ripe with opportunity.”

Dan DeMeyer, director, sales strategy, Kellogg Company, agreed. “As more consumers return to traveling, using health clubs and working from their offices, interest in on-the-go consumption has increased, benefiting the alternative snacks category,” he said.

The alternative snacks category with its four subcategories has a small in-store slice of sales, but it is a powerful one with continued growth potential.

“The alternative snacks category has certainly been embraced by our customer base at Roaster’s Market, and we don’t see any signs of that changing,” said Caroline Miles, marketing coordinator, Lawson Holdings LLC, owner of Roaster’s Market in Ada, Oklahoma.

See how each subcategory performed in this month’s Category Close-Up column “Out of the Ordinary” in the April issue of NACS Magazine.

Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer and NACS Magazine contributor based in Fairfax, Virginia. Visit her online at