Snacking Success: Delicious and Nutritious Back-to-School Snacks
By Meline Beach
As summer winds down and the school bells ring once again, parents and students alike find themselves preparing for the back-to-school rush. Amidst the flurry of buying school supplies and organizing schedules, one crucial aspect that often takes centre stage is finding the perfect snacks to keep students energized throughout the day. C-stores and retail gas stations across Canada offer a wide range of enticing and convenient options that cater to the tastebuds of students of all ages
Three Farmers is well-armed with nutritious, minimally processed snacks that are sustainably grown in Canada. As a natural foods brand, they produce plant-based, roasted (never fried) snacks known as pulses, which are high in protein and fibre, and are nut and peanut-free, gluten-free, Kosher and Non-GMO certified. Their Roasted Chickpeas, Lentils and Fava Bean snacks pack a big crunch, have a bold flavour, and are nutrient-dense, making them perfect for any snack occasion.
“Zesty Cheddar Roasted Fava Beans is a top-selling favourite item among adults and children,” says Chief Brand and Innovation Officer Elysia Vandenhurk at Three Farmers. “It’s our latest innovation, beyond the original Dill Pickle flavour, and a formidable opponent to chips and pretzels, a snack that parents can feel good about giving to kids in lunch boxes.”
Other customer favourites include Roasted Lentils in sea salt and barbecue flavours, as well as Roasted Chickpeas in sea salt and lime and turmeric and spice flavours.
Three Farmers snacks come in convenient ‘to go’ formats. The 15g ($1/snack pack) and 40g ($2/snack pack) sizes fit perfectly in lunch boxes.
Vandenhurk adds, “Consumers are looking for snacks to deliver the trifecta: nutrition, bold flavours, and delicious taste. Three Farmers snacks fit all three.”
For anyone craving something meaty, beef jerky snacks are a great addition to the back-to-school snack category. As a convenient and portable snack option, they can easily be enjoyed during recess, while studying in the library, or participating in extracurricular activities.
“Our beef jerky snacks provide a quick and satisfying energy boost,” says Michelle McGillivray, business development director at Big Chief Meat Snacks Inc. “They’re an excellent source of protein, which is essential for students’ growth, development, and overall well-being. Protein helps keep hunger at bay and provides long-lasting energy, making it an ideal choice for sustained focus and concentration throughout the school day.
Family-owned and operated out of Calgary, Alberta, for over five decades, Big Chief Meat Snacks Inc. prides itself on 100 per cent Canadian beef products, carefully crafted in a variety of flavours – the most popular of which is Original.
McGillivray adds, “Our beef jerky snacks are a healthier alternative to many traditional processed snacks often found in the back-to-school snack aisle. They are low in sugar, gluten-free and contain no fillers. As a result, parents can feel confident in providing their children with a snack that not only tastes great but also supports their nutritional needs.”
As for packaging, Big Chief Meat Snacks provides single-serve and bulk options to cater to different preferences and needs. With a price range of $1.50 to $12, single-serve packages are convenient for individual snacks, while bulk packages are suitable for sharing or stocking up for more extended periods.
In terms of innovation, Big Chief Meat Snacks recently introduced a new flavour, Jamaican Style Jerk beef jerky, aimed to celebrate cultural diversity, provide a one-of-a-kind flavour experience in the snack industry, and deliver a unique and unforgettable taste experience.
Retailer Point of View
Many c-stores and retail gas stations understand the importance of providing snacks that are not only convenient but also nutritious. With growing awareness about the importance of healthy eating and dietary restrictions, these stores stock a range of better-for-you options.
Strategically positioned in neighbourhoods, c-stores are accessible to students and parents during daily commutes. Whether it’s a stop on the way to school or a quick grab-and-go after class, c-stores and retail gas stations serve as the perfect channel to deliver a diverse range of pre-packaged snacks that are tasty, healthy, and convenient.
“Most of our stores are nestled within communities that are steps away from schools, universities, and other educational institutions,” says Rima Rabba, marketing and communications manager at Rabba Fine Foods. “We have national household brands, better-for-you items, and a full product selection to keep parents feeling good about feeding their kids. Students appreciate the accessibility and product selection available at our locations.”
As a family-run business with roots extending back to 1967, Rabba Fine Foods is a chain of local market and convenience stores across 36 locations in the Greater Toronto Area. They pride themselves on being open 24 hours a day, year-round, meeting their customers’ ever-changing grocery and convenience needs.
According to Rabba, “The snack category is full of innovation and sees steady growth year over year, with chips remaining a customer favourite. They’re crunchy, salty, flavourful and what I love most – versatile, as in – eat them as an appetizer, a side, a snack and are deliciously dippable.”
No longer limited to ‘snack-times’, people have adopted snacking for all occasions as the better-for-you trend has solidified its space in the snacking world.
“We’re seeing an increase in demand for healthier and plant-based snacking alternatives,” says Rabba, who has expanded the stores’ selection of healthy snacks, and prepared food and beverage options just in time for the new back-to-school season. “We’re so happy to offer a vast selection of healthy lunch and snack options for students of all ages – to provide the nutrients and energy needed to get through the day. We work hard with our wonderful suppliers to provide healthy, tasty snacks at a great price.”
Rabba adds, “We’re also seeing taste innovations, where ethnic flavours have created excitement for manufacturers’ snacking profile.”
Partnerships between popular brands and c-stores can create excitement in the snack category with the introduction of limited-edition snacks or exclusive flavours for the back-to-school season. These collaborations can provide a fresh and enticing selection of snacks that are sure to capture attention. Whether it’s a new twist on a classic snack or a unique combination of flavours, special offerings can make back-to-school snacking exciting – from the first period to the final bell.
Meline Beach is a Toronto-based communications practitioner and frequent contributor to Convenience and Carwash Canada. In addition to freelance writing, Meline provides communications and public relations support to businesses across Canada. She can be reached at www.mlbcomms.ca.