While ice cream and sweets remained stable across most age groups, it was the sweet-toothed 25-34-year-olds driving the growth. Photo: Racool Studio/Freepik
While ice cream and sweets remained stable across most age groups, it was the sweet-toothed 25-34-year-olds driving the growth. Photo: Racool Studio/Freepik

South Africans spending more on snacks amid pandemic, says Ipsos

By Given Majola Time of article published Nov 16, 2021

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SOUTH Africans were spending more on snacks, thereby sending snack buying to the highest level since Ipsos began tracking this in January last year.

According to the latest Ipsos Consumption and Shopper tracking study, the value of snack sales increased by 43 percent compared to the previous year, with cheaper brands gaining traction in various categories. However, the study shows that there was a decline in purchase frequency as consumers spent more than before on snacks on the occasions when they purchased them.

According to the study, due to changing lifestyles and an increase in consumer sophistication and product awareness, this was probably no surprise. Nibbles were more than just treats for consumers as they were also big business for manufacturers and retailers, with snacking becoming a daily occurrence for the modern consumer.

This value growth for snacks was largely attributed to the 4 percent growth of the total sweet category, with ice cream increasing 5.9 percent and sweets lifting 6.3 percent. While ice cream and sweets remained stable across most age groups, it was the sweet-toothed 25-34-year-olds driving the growth. Smaller in size, but big in potential, there was a slight push back from peanuts, increasing 2.3 percent in the total savoury category.

In keeping with the increased sales of snacks, most retailers experienced an increase in crispy chips shopping. Looking at individual retailers, Shoprite benefited the most from an increased volume of sales at 6.5 percent for chips, while its sister company Checkers came in second with a 5.4 percent increase. Pick n Pay recorded a significant decrease at 12.2 percent in chip shopping.

According to the study, although at-home consumption of snacks was at a comfortable 82 percent, compared to 18 percent of out-of-home snacking, the market was being driven by increased demand for convenient food products and on-the-go trends, most likely with people increasingly returning to post-lockdown lives.

Snacking while walking has seen the sharpest increase at 12 percent followed by snacking at the office at 8 percent and snacking while watching sports on TV at home at 5 percent. On the other hand, consumption of snacks on public transport has declined sharply by 22 percent.

With the gradual growth in snacking out of home, consumers were downsizing to smaller pack sizes, which was especially evident in the chip category. Small and medium pack size volumes have grown by 3.8 percent and 3.4 percent respectively. Consequently, this had decreased the volume share of large pack sizes by 5.7 percent and extra-large pack sizes by 1.5 percent.

The study found that looking at the time of snacking, traditional breakfast hours (5am-10am) were the most popular time for both savoury at 45.2 percent and sweet at 37.6 percent, followed by traditional dinner and evening time between 6pm-11.59pm.

Most interestingly, late at night and early morning (midnight-4.59am) many consumers at 17.2 percent were said to be looking for something sweet to munch.

The Ipsos Shopper panel was described as a unique Individual Shopper Panel of 2 000 panellists that provides insights into end user continuous purchasing patterns across various snacking categories. Consumers were contacted once a week on a continuous basis for the past seven days of purchases. Categories that were measured included snacks and beverages.

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18 000 people.

According to the global snack food market statistics and facts published by Statista Research Department in September, during the pandemic worldwide snack consumption shot up across all categories.

The most common reason for people to snack was said to be the sense of comfort they experienced from indulging. People were also said to be snacking to relieve boredom, reward themselves, boost their mood, and to relax.

With the generally taxing circumstances the pandemic presented, the explosion in snack consumption was hardly surprising.

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