People Buying Fewer Hot Pockets After Tastes Change, SNAP Cuts

Image courtesy of (Mike Mozart)

It’s easy to make fun of Hot Pockets. Over the years, we’ve laughed at the dough-encased food-like objects when they’ve been recalled for containing plastic and meat considered “unfit for human consumption,” when Nestle tried to sell young foodies on the products, and even when they were declared a separate food group. Things are not well at Nestle, which is Hot Pocket HQ, right now.

Younger generations of Americans are turning against frozen and processed food in general, and even the pseudo-foodie makeover couldn’t rehabilitate the image of Hot Pockets. However, Bloomberg Businessweek points out another problem for low-cost frozen foods like Hot Pockets: at the end of last year, temporary increases to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), what were once called “food stamps,” began in 2009 and expired at the end of 2013. Hot Pocket sales fell when recipients’ SNAP allowances did.

“For our Hot Pockets brand, it was not surprising to understand the value our products offered to the SNAP consumer,” a Nestle spokeswoman told Businessweek, and a Nestle executive specifically mentioned SNAP recipients as a factor in Hot Pocket sales during a recent sales call.

Every Food Trend Goes Against Slumping Hot Pockets, Even Government Spending [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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