5 Sweet Product Trends For Your Micro Market

September 17, 2018

Healthy may be what people are talking about, but offering sweets and treats still brings in big bucks. Just look at the 2018 State of the Micro Market and Vending Industry report from Automatic Merchandiser (AM). It says that in 2017, candy, snacks and confections brought in the most revenue dollars for both vended products and micro market products, $7.0 billion and $1.1 billion respectively.

Woman getting a snack from a machine

In a recent article published on, sweet treats were highlighted with consumer trends specific to the convenience services industry. It reviewed several factors that motivate consumers to purchase a candy, snack or confection. Here is a roundup of those trends micro market operators should consider in order to maximize profits.

National brands

Consumers still respond to brands. In the AM article, product suppliers reported growth of their core brands in convenience services. The established quality, colorful packaging and mainstream marketing these companies often do ensures consumers will be looking for these names in candy, snacks and confections in micro markets. Operators can add in newly released flavors and brand extensions which will offer brand recognition while still meeting the consumers’ need for variety.

Better ingredients/labels

The demand for cleaner labels in the better-for-you category has also changed how consumers view the labels of products considered treats. Consumers have started looking at candy, snack and confections for clear or simple ingredients, and terms such as organic and natural, according to the AM article.

The most common consumer to investigate an indulgent product label is the Millennial, explains John Sommer of Consumer Insights & Strategy, Foodservice at Mondelēz International. “Millennials want to know what they’re eating, and because of this, manufacturers are putting more information on labels,” he said.

Favorite of the region

Pride in the local community or place of origin plays a role in what types of candy, snacks and confections consumers buy. Malcolm McAlpine, Business Manager, Branded Snacks, Foodservice and Vending for Mondelēz International explained that “consumers across the country seek varied flavors due to diverse cultural makeups. “For instance, the demand for NILLA Wafers is much stronger in the South and the Midwest than other regions,” he said. This means that micro market operators can’t ignore the culturally relevant products that could boost sales in the micro market.

Daypart specific

Consumers look for different products at different times of the day. Products geared towards breakfast will sell better in the morning. Larger size treats and sweets sell better in the afternoon as it satisfies the late-in-the-day hungry pains felt by many workers.

Taste trumps all

Last but not least, consumers still look at taste. There is a reason these products are considered treats – whether it is chocolate or sugar or a combination -- these items satisfy consumer cravings. Therefore, this is one of the strongest drivers of the candy, snacks and confection segment and will continue to influence the decision to buy.

Sweet and treats are clearly in high demand by micro market consumers. Therefore, candy, snack and confections should continue to make up a portion of an operator’s overall micro market offering in addition to other segments, such as better-for-you. Operators should look for the options that taste good as well as satisfy consumer requirements in labels and dayparts, while not forgetting the impact a brand can have on the decision to purchase.