This is why there are suddenly so many stores in Toronto selling outrageous snacks
You might have noticed stores for outrageous and exotic snacks popping up in Toronto, the kind that don't sell your average plain cereals, cookies and chips.
These are the places where you'll find green tea Kit Kats, Rap Snacks endorsed by your favourite rappers, and key lime pie Twizzlers.
But why are there suddenly so many of these stores in Toronto?
First off, it's not an isolated phenomenon. Recently opened outrageous snack shop Dank Mart also has a Vancouver Location, and Lucky's Bodega (which also has Vancouver and Winnipeg locations) is now opening up on Ossington.
Beyond Canada, it's a global trend: go down a rabbit hole on social media and you'll discover snacks you never knew existed, with people reviewing them and reporting on what new outrageous snacks are coming out all the time.
And indeed they are coming out all the time. Not every wacky thing every company comes up with becomes available in Toronto, but the nutty things that are available create an element of excitement, almost like a new sneaker drop or new single from a hot artist.
In this, there's an element of FOMO, exclusivity and even ridiculousness people want to capture right now, especially for social media, and stores selling these zany products are capitalizing on that.
"Exotic snacks are more fancy, due to the packaging, the flavours. It's more exciting. People will always go for the foreign Cheetos or Mountain Dew over the domestic ones," BZB Convenience owner Le Gong tells blogTO.
"The cool factor is present too. People often will post it and show their friends before eating it."
The brands get attention; the content creators get views; and the stores get sales.
"Our focus is more on brand value and creating a special consumer experience," Trap Mart owner Darcy Giles tells blogTO.
"I think we took a risk not many were willing to take by going for it on Queen St. W. and are now seeing lots of other companies follow suit."
Giles says he's "quickly seen an influx in competition popping up this spring" including a store called Exotic Snax GTA that just opened this month near Queen and John.
Time will tell whether this is an enduring business, a short-term fad or a quickly oversatured industry like something else that might come to mind.
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