Snack subscriptions: Taking a bite out of the food and beverage market

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Customers crave curation. Of the three most common models of ecommerce subscriptions—replenishment, curation, and access—industry specialists have identified curation services are by far the most popular, “suggesting a strong desire for personalized services,” a McKinsey report writes. In fact, 55 percent of total subscriptions fell into this category. 

Separately, in the food sector, snacking brands are booming across the world. Researchers found that 59 percent of adults prefer snacking to eating meals. Nestle’s first quarter of 2021 saw its revenue surge by $2 billion—reaching $23 billion—due in part to how the pandemic gave rise to all the grazing by adults working-at-home. 

Turns out these snackers want to align themselves with brands they trust, especially after how the pandemic encouraged everyone to play it safe. A 2020 Mondelez International survey found 74 percent of adults agree with the statement, “During these uncertain times, I prefer to stick with brands I know.”

Then there’s the science of snacking. According to some research, such as a study from Harvard Health Publishing, snacking rather than just eating three big meals can curb your perception of fatigue because your brain will get a steady supply of nutrients.

Combine our preference for seamless personalized deliveries with our love of snacks and you’ve got a recipe for a subscription ecommerce brand that wants to leverage this ideal combo.

The curation advantage

Curation subscriptions are one of the most common, yet diverse, subscription models out there. It puts control in the hands of the brand, who provide customers with a curated ‘mystery box’ of items. They bring products together so subscribers can discover something new. Under the curation model, subscription-based stores can give customers a host of benefits, which Bold Commerce outlined in a previous report.

Using the curated-box model…

  • Other businesses could offer a curated box in addition to their core product or other subscriptions. 
  • It allows you to negotiate with suppliers on committed inventory quantities.
  • You can potentially make money from suppliers for the promotional value your box provides.
  • It streamlines revenue and inventory forecasting by offering a single product while giving you complete control over the contents and costs.

If your brand is accustomed to doing it the traditional way, it might be time to level up. A Shopify report succinctly states: “Traditional online retail is based on ad hoc purchasing and total revenues, whereas subscription models rely on pre-planned purchasing and recurring revenue. The value of a subscription is in this recurring, predictable revenue.”

Layering that approach over a snacks brand is intuitive, thanks to how variety is at the heart of both curation and snacking. Unlike full meal kits, boxes filled with snacks can pull from a deeper pool of products, such as nuts and chocolates and energy bars and quinoa chips and sugar-free gummies. Within each sub-section, a range of vendors can pepper a subscriber’s monthly box with one type and a different variety the next month, like hazelnuts and then cashews for a nuts section. 

Consumers are looking for input from brands on what kind of snacks boxes would best suit their needs. As that McKinsey paper wrote, “consumers (particularly curation and access subscribers) expect personalized subscriptions to become more tailored over time: 28 percent of both groups said that a personalized experience was the most important reason for continuing to subscribe.”

When snack brands harness apps such as Bold Subscriptions, they can invigorate their ecommerce assets with recurring revenue and digital portals designed to entice and retain loyal customers.

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The munchies brands winning with subscriptions

Going niche has been a successful strategy for many online snack brands, such as super-healthy and organic-friendly Graze and internationally-sourced MunchPak. Consumers may also want to subscribe to brands that sync with their values, which may have encouraged snacks brand Love with Food to donate one meal with each purchased subscription box.

The most compelling brands are the ones that make their subscription portal clear and simple. Creating a seamless flow in checkout allows for an engaging shopping journey, and we’ve seen how our clients have made Bold Subscriptions a key part of that checkout process. One-off sales are great, but bringing back customers who support your brand—and will evangelize about it—focuses more on long-term gains than short-term wins.

 

 

Developing a robust database of every snack available will also buoy any brand in this sector, even more so if customers can access specific details about each item. When you visit SnackMagic’s site, you can choose from a vast trove of pages filled with “aisles” of snacks to select. If you click on the product, say, a package of jackfruit chews, you get a full description, ingredients list, nutritional information and a short bio of the company making these chews. Easy-to-see icons notify shoppers if the product is nut-free, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.

By curating a performance-driven, API-powered experience, you gain the flexibility to transform your subscription program into a key profitability driver, while building strong and meaningful customer relationships.

When you bring that kind of innovation to your checkout process, you can focus on what you do best, which is driving and scaling a successful food and beverage brand. 

Download Bold's guide to growing food and beverage subscriptions in 2021 for more insights and ideas around setting the table for long-term growth. 

 

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David Silverberg

Written by David Silverberg

David Silverberg is a freelance journalist and editor who writes for news outlets such as BBC News, The Washington Post, Business Insider and The Toronto Star.


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