Have you noticed the increased presence of a wacky little duck in sunglasses on the shelves at your local convenience store? If not, it might only be a matter of time. National Retail Solutions, a New Jersey–based point-of-sale company with systems in 18,000 stores nationwide, has found that Hispanic snack and candy brands are on the rise, even outselling mainstream brands in some cases.
Suzy Silliman, senior vice president of data sales and strategy at NRS, spoke with The Takeout about the findings, which were included in a presentation at the the National Association of Convenience Stores’ 2022 NACS Show held in Las Vegas from October 1-4.
It should be noted that NRS systems are mainly in mom-and-pop corner stores and bodegas, not major chain locations or gas stations. However, in addition to the company’s own data the NRS also worked with NielsenIQ to conduct a survey among the general population of convenience store shoppers. All the findings indicate that Hispanic brands are gaining popularity among consumers—and convenience store owners should take note.
Per data shared with The Takeout by NRS, Lucas Candy (the brand with the duck), owned by Mars Inc., outsold Life Savers, Haribo, and Trolli products while coming in second only to Skittles in the non-chocolate confectionery category in stores that carried each of these brands. In addition to Lucas, Hispanic candy brand De La Rosa outsold Airheads, Starburst, Sour Punch, and Sour Patch candies. Meanwhile, in the cookie category, Marinela and Gamesa cookies came in second and third behind Nabisco Oreos, beating out Nabisco’s Chips Ahoy cookies in sales.
It might seem like the success of these brands could be attributed to the United States’ growing Hispanic population—one of the fastest-growing demographics, accounting for more than half of the nation’s population growth over the past decade. However, Silliman noted that the rise in Hispanic snack brand sales is demonstrably due to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers. Per the Nielsen survey, 45% of convenience store shoppers said they would purchase Hispanic/Latin foods if they were available.
It’s also part of an ongoing trend that extends beyond the snack category. Silliman cited the success of Modelo beer: A 2021 VinePair article cites Modelo Especial as the “second best-selling beer in America,” coming up behind Bud Light. And if you need any further convincing that these snack brands are headed for mainstream popularity, look no further than Takis. The rolled tortilla chip snacks were introduced in the US in 2004 and originally intended to be marketed specifically to Hispanic consumers, but their popularity grew rapidly, and in 2022, it would be concerning not to find them in your local grocery or convenience store.
Though the sales data only corresponds to 18,000 stores, it’s exciting to see the numbers trend upward. These are the brands I grew up with, and I’m happy to see them increasingly on shoppers’ radar as a go-to snack option.