Here’s How Packaged Sweet Snacks Did in 2021

Driven by seasonal flavors and innovative combinations, consumers are returning to packaged sweet snacks.

August 03, 2022

Packaged Sweet Snacks

By Sarah Hamaker

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The year 2020 wasn’t a sweet one for packaged sweet snacks. Like many other center-store categories, packaged sweet snacks struggled. But 2021 saw recovery for the category with sales up 14.3% year over year, according to the NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Report of 2021 Data. Monthly CSX data show sales have recovered past the declines experienced in 2020 and are more closely mirroring the monthly sales figures from 2019.

“Part of this is simply the recovery of many in-store categories as trips and transactions increased from 2020,” said Jayme Gough, research manager, NACS. Packaged sweet snacks accounted for 1.12% of in-store sales in 2021, an increase of 0.06 point from 2020, according to the 2021 NACS SOI Report.

“The sweet packaged goods category in the c-store channel is up more than 11% in dollar sales compared to a year ago,” said Tina Lambert, vice president, insights, innovation and activation, Hostess Brands LLC. “Convenience store consumer traffic declines during COVID have been the biggest short-term challenge to growth, but we are incredibly pleased to see traffic is beginning to return to pre-COVID levels.”

NieslenIQ data indicate that total U.S. convenience packaged sweet snacks sales accelerated 8.4% in 2021 compared with 2020—a unit increase of 3%. This small category also produced $2,026 in sales per store per month in 2021, with margins for the category jumping year over year from 44.10% in 2020 to 45.44% in 2021, according to the 2021 NACS SOI Report. “This helped boost category gross profits 17.7% to a total of $921 per store per month in 2021,” Gough said.

However, as the category rebounds, challenges to growth remain.

Read the rest of this month’s Category Close-Up “A Taste for Sweetness” in the digital issue of NACS Magazine.

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