Image credit: National Peanut Board
Did you know that that the average kid in the U.S. eats 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating from high school? Or that Americans eat enough peanut butter every year to coat the bottom of the Grand Canyon?
It’s true. And our love affair with peanut butter is far from over. In fact, it’s on the rise — accelerated by the pandemic, yes, but it’s been steadily climbing for decades. As you can see in the chart above, consumption per capita reached an all-time high in 2020.
Why does it matter? Because it represents an opportunity for c-stores to drive sales.
According to the National Peanut Board, consumption is on the rise for three reasons, all of which bode well for the c-store industry.
- Consumers are snacking on peanut butter and jelly more, both in the morning and afternoon — aligning with growth trends in the “better-for-you” snack category.
- Millennials and Gen-Xers are embracing the PB&J — and picking up supplies at c-stores between their regular grocery runs.
- Peanut butter is the ultimate comfort food — a category c-stores know well. And consumers report a higher percentage of PB&J occasions when they need to unwind.
To take advantage of these trends, we’ve rounded up 5 peanut butter brands you could be selling more of right now.
Image credit: Statistica
Why stock up on Jif?
As you can see above, sales of Jif account for nearly a third of all peanut butter sales in the U.S., with 31.7% market share. That’s triple the market share of the next largest brand, Skippy, and translates into sales of over $587 million.
So Jif is a smart choice if you’re looking to add more peanut butter to your shelves.
Of course, you might already carry Jif — many convenience stores do. But where do you have it merchandised? Is it in the back of the store on a bottom shelf in between canned soup and motor oil?
If so, the iconic jar of creamy Jif could benefit from better product placement and cross merchandising.
Remember, the pandemic is driving shoppers to c-stores for groceries more than ever before. So why not display the Jif prominently alongside fresh bread and jelly? Few shoppers can resist the comfort and nostalgia of a classic PB&J.
You can also expand your product selection to include other items in the Jif lineup. For instance, Jif launched several new products this year that tap into health and wellness trends. These include Jif No Added Sugar and Jif Natural.
And they also have a few products that mesh well with the busy convenience store customer — Jif Squeeze and Jif To Go Cups. You could try placing Jif Squeeze next to Smuckers Squeeze Jelly and a loaf of bread. Or near the checkout with a bag of pretzels.
You can also run combo promotions on related products, offering a discount when purchased together. Here are a few ideas:
- $1 off Jif Squeeze when you buy a loaf of bread.
- Buy Smuckers Squeeze Jelly and get Jif Squeeze FREE.
- FREE Utz Pretzels with purchase of Jif To Go Cups.
- $2 off any fresh veggie purchase when you buy Jif To Go Cups.
Image credit: Skippy
Why stock up on Skippy?
In the US, the debate between Jif and Skippy is fierce, with many consumers residing firmly in one camp or the other.
And while Jif’s camp is quite a bit larger in terms of market share, Skippy is next in line at 10.5%. Adding more Skippy to your peanut butter lineup is a smart choice for several reasons:
- First, Skippy people want to buy Skippy. They’re unlikely to buy Jif, even if it’s the only thing on the shelf. But if you’re only going to carry two brands of peanut butter, Jif and Skippy are solid choices.
- Second, Skippy has released some innovative snack products lately that align well with the convenience channel. In the image above, you can see their PB & Jelly Minis which come in three flavors — PB & Strawberry, PB & Grape, and PB & Grape Natural.
They also have Skippy PB Bites, available in Graham Cracker, Pretzel, and Double Peanut Butter flavors. This product comes in a small, individual size container that’s perfect for busy, on-the-go c-store shoppers.
Both the PB & Jelly Minis and the PB Bites align well with the “better-for-you” trend in snack foods, which NACS included in its top areas for growth over the next five years in addition to products that deliver on taste and pleasing flavor combinations.
If you put the PB & Jelly Minis up against a pack of Hostess cakes, for example, it certainly seems like a better choice. Same goes for the PB Bites versus a bag of chips or a candy bar.
Plus, Skippy came out with a squeeze peanut butter recently, similar to Jif’s, along with an added protein variety. The latter comes in a small, widemouth jar and boasts 10 grams of protein per serving, achieved by adding pea protein into the mix.
Considering the trend in plant-based protein, Skippy’s protein PB would be a smart choice to add to your shelf. According to the World Plant-based Protein Industry Report, the global plant-based protein market size is projected to grow from $10.3 billion in 2020 to $14.5 billion by 2025, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1%.
Image credit: Smuckers
Why stock up on Smuckers?
We’re putting Smuckers at the number three spot for one reason — Uncrustables. Smuckers literally cannot make enough of them.
Net sales of the Uncrustables brand rose 26% to reach $365 million in 2020, and net sales were up 22% in the first two quarters of 2021.
But this isn’t just a pandemic boost. John P. Brase, Smuckers’ chief executive officer, says that within the frozen aisle, “Uncrustables frozen sandwiches have top quartile velocities, with 15 consecutive quarters of double-digit dollar consumption growth.”
“The brand achieved 29% growth in households over the past year, hitting 10% household penetration,” Brase continued. “Even with this impressive growth, Uncrustables still represents just 15% of PB&J occasions at home, demonstrating significant opportunity for continued growth.”
To support this growth, Smuckers is streamlining its operations, dropping less successful products (like Jif Powerups), in order to focus on building the Uncrustables brand.
They’ve built a new production facility in Longmont, Colorado, which can crank out 2 million Uncrustables a day, and are accelerating expansion of the plant to add additional production lines.
Plus, Smuckers has never really turned on marketing for Uncrustables because they’ve been capacity constrained for 7 of the last 10 years. So adding Smuckers Uncrustables to your (freezer) shelves is a smart choice considering the demand and growth potential of the product.
Currently, Uncrustables are available in the following varieties:
- Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich
- Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich on Wheat + Reduced Sugar
- Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich on Wheat
- Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich
- Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich on Wheat + Reduced Sugar
- Peanut Butter Sandwich
- Chocolate-flavored Hazelnut Spread Sandwich
- Uncured Ham and Cheddar Cheese Sandwich Rollups
- Turkey and Colby Jack Cheese Sandwich Rollups
- Taco Bites
- BBQ Chicken Bites
4. Crazy Richard’s
Image credit: Crazy Richards
Why stock up on Crazy Richard's?
If you have room on your shelf for one of the lesser known brands, Crazy Richards is the smartest choice. It’s rated number one on the Today Show’s roundup of best peanut butters, according to nutritionists and chefs.
With only one ingredient (peanuts!), a single 2-tablespoon serving of Crazy Richard's has 190 calories, 8 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat and 2 grams of sugar. Most traditional peanut butters, by contrast, have an additional gram of sugar and a bit less protein due to added ingredients.
Crazy Richards also comes in individually-sized squeeze packets, a product highlighted by Frank Beard on his quest to prove that healthy eating is in fact possible at convenience stores. Beard actually spent an entire month eating exclusively at gas stations (#30daysofgasstationfood) to prove this point.
“I eat a lot of bananas on-the-go,” says Beard. “But I sometimes wish I could make them a bit more interesting. Perhaps some peanut butter.
The trouble, however, is that I don’t require an entire container of it. Fortunately, Crazy Richard’s natural line of products are just the right size, sourced from a single ingredient—peanuts—and free of trans fat, palm oil, salt, sugar and cholesterol.”
5. Private label peanut butter
Image credit: 7-Eleven
Why stock up on private label peanut butter?
Private label peanut butter, as a collective unit, actually comes in second place in market share after Jif. And while private labels used to be more common in grocery stores vs. c-stores, the tide is shifting.
7-Eleven, for example, now offers over 1,500 different private label items, with sales topping $1 billion in 2020. And Casey's overhauled its private label portfolio in 2020, doubling its SKU count with a focus on center store items.
Obviously private label products are more profitable, but that’s always been the case. So why the sudden uptick in c-store adoption? Two key reasons:
- First, private labels have become an important way to influence store choice. According to a 2020 consumer survey from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), 46% of consumers say store brands influence their store choice, up 11% over three years earlier.
As Todd Maute, partner at CBX, a New York City-based brand strategy and design agency, explains for NACS, “Your customers can get a bottle of Coke anywhere. So, having Coke isn’t really a differentiator anymore. But having a unique brand they can only get at your store will keep them loyal to you.”
“Nielsen research has proven year over year that retailers with a higher private-label penetration have high store loyalty,” he says. “And loyalty is even more important today when Gen X and Millennial shoppers are value and price conscious and less brand loyal.”
- Second, consumers are shopping differently now, with trends towards fewer shopping trips and larger basket sizes holding true even in c-stores. This means shoppers are turning to c-stores more than ever before for their quick fill-in trips between grocery orders. And they’re looking for more than immediate consumption products, opening the door to a huge range of private label opportunities - including peanut butter!
You might be thinking that private labels would only make sense for the largest of chains. But according to NACS, smaller retailers have also found success. Busy Bee, for example, is a 16-store chain based in Madison, Florida and they’ve been selling private-label products since 2014.
“We started with a few lines to see how customers would respond to them, and we’ve grown from there,” said Megan Forcey, director of advertising and e-commerce at Busy Bee. “Once our guests started asking us for a website so they could order products when they got home from traveling, we knew it was a success.”
Running a c-store? See how Koupon helps c-stores grow
Consumer behavior is evolving, peanut butter trends included, challenging retailers to grow and adapt. At Koupon, we provide the technology you need to reach shoppers, create data-informed strategies, and drive digital impact.
And no matter where you are in your digital transformation, we have the solutions you need to grow. We can help you:
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- Simplify promotion execution: Don’t stress over the details. Our team takes care of it all, from offer set up to post-campaign analysis, and everything in between.
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Our solutions grow with you. So whether you’re just getting started or fully accelerating, we can help. Get in touch to learn more!