The Great British snacking habit that is driving the market’s rapid growth is the inevitable result of our hectic lifestyles.

In our working lives, we‘re spending more time away from home and not eating regular meals. When we’re not at work, we’re often too engrossed in what we’re doing to eat properly when we feel hungry. And then there are those times, when we’re on our own or in company, when we fancy a treat to cheer us up. All of which means we’re snacking more.

As the suppliers tell us in this feature, things are changing in the snacks we choose, with health increasingly a major motivator in purchase decisions, especially for younger consumers. So it’s time to look again at this important aspect of our shopping behaviour and what it means for multiple grocers.

Crisps, nuts and snacks have been mainstays of British savoury snacking for many decades. Walkers is still way out in front as the crisp market leader, as it has been since the 1990s when PepsiCo took over the brand and revolutionised the UK bag snacks market. Two decades on, Walkers’ core crisps and PepsiCo’s sharing ranges, Sensations and Doritos, remain signposts for the snacking section in store, enjoying high rates of sale all year round, delivering a stream of innovation and a variety of options for shoppers to enjoy.

Crisps, nuts and snacks continue to be a huge business, and should be recognised as such, but the fact remains that these days the biggest consumers of these items tend to be older shoppers, not the Millennials that marketers pin their hopes on. When it comes to savoury snacks, younger consumers increasingly want their treats to be less salty and overtly ‘Better For You,’ a trend the manufacturers recognise and are addressing to varying degrees.

On the sweet snack side, biscuits, cakes and confectionery continue to be hugely popular as tempting treats when we need a boost, but again growing numbers of us also want healthier choices at these times, with less sugar and ideally contributing to our 5 a day of fruit and fibre. It all adds up to an exciting opportunity for retailers and suppliers who rise to the challenge.

Savoury Snacks

The current drivers in savoury snacks are the rise in food to go and eating on the move, the growing demand for healthier alternatives that deliver nutritional benefits, and the trend to spicier foods and condiments, as a look at the different product groups reveals

Meat snacks

Kerry Foods is currently spearheading a fresh protein snacking movement, confirming its position as the expert in chilled. Capitalising on one of the fastest growing snacking categories, meat snacking, which is growing 13.1% annually, Kerry Foods has brought all its snacking products under the Fridge Raiders brand, including Mattessons, Fire & Smoke and Go Go’s.


The latest newcomer to the UK crisp market is the Japan-based $2.3bn, global snack company Calbee Inc., which has recently bought challenger brand and local snacking heroes Seabrook Crisps. Richard Robison, MD of Calbee UK, promises Calbee “will boldly strive to disrupt the UK snacking category through exciting innovation.”

We look forward to reporting on developments. Meanwhile Seabrook is turning up the heat in the crisp market with the new super-hot “Fire Eaters” range, available in three flavours with varying degrees of heat – Searin’ Hot, Smokin’ Hot and Scorchin’ Hot, containing Trinidad Scorpion Chilli.

Available in 150g sharing bags, with an extreme heat warning, Britain’s hottest ever crisps invite consumers to take the Seabrook Fire Eaters challenge and share their reactions on social media.

Staying with spicy, Golden Wonder is setting tongues tingling with the introduction of a limited edition Curry flavour to its retro-cult brand, Transform- A-Snack. Available until May 2019, Curry joins Saucy BBQ, Spicy, Beef, Chilli and Cheese & Onion in the interactive range.

A household name in the 1990s, Golden Wonder is now on the comeback trail. Matt Smith, Golden Wonder Marketing Director says Golden Wonder snacks are outpacing the market, up +19.6% versus the overall +7.6%. Golden Wonder is now part of Tayto Group, the biggest British-owned crisp and snack manufacturer, and Northern Ireland’s number one crisp brand. Tayto’s snack portfolio also includes Mr Porky, REAL Crisps, Jonathan Crisp and Portlebay Popcorn. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a brace of festive flavoured crisps.

As the season comes round once again, Walkers is launching a new range of Christmas dinner-related crisps, including the first ever Brussel Sprouts flavour crisp, plus Turkey & Stuffing, Pigs in Blankets, Glazed Ham, Turkey & Stuffing and Cheese & Cranberry flavours. Burts Chips is also introducing a Roast Turkey & Stuffing flavour, in 150g bags.

Healthy Snacking

The healthy snacking trend shows no signs of slowing, says Katy Hamblin, Marketing Manager of Pipers Crisps. The ‘Better for you’ (BFY) market is now worth nearly £125m, up 9.3% year on year, and over half the population is buying into it. Two-thirds of shoppers are repeat purchasers and healthy eating snacks are bought far more frequently, up to six times a year.

Pipers’ recent launch Pipers Crispeas are a fresh take on the British pea, available in three flavours – Matar Paneer, Salsa Verde and English Mint, and offering less than 91 kcal per pack.

With consumers increasingly reporting a heightened interest in their health and wellness PepsiCo’s Snack-a- Jacks rice cake brand is evidence of the depth of their understanding of the snack market and willingness to explore the wider opportunities beyond their crisps and snacks comfort zone. With a loyal consumer base and 48% repeat purchase rate, Snack-a-Jacks remain a popular choice among health-conscious shoppers, who are driving the ‘Better for you’ segment’s +38% growth.

With almost two thirds of adults snacking once a day or more, Dairy Crest has refreshed its Cathedral City Adult Snack Bar range, the top performing adult cheese snack, adding two new flavour variants, a new pack design and a new range positioning of 100kcals or less per bar. With a revised unit weight of 24g, the new Snack Bars are high in protein and have 100kcals or fewer per bar, in line with the recent Public Health England flagship campaign advocating 100kcal per single snacking pack.

Dairy Crest has also revamped its Cathedral City Kids Snacking range with a move to lighter cheese and an on-pack partnership with Nickelodeon, to enhance its appeal to families.

Another healthier alternative to traditional crisps and snacks, BEPPS, the UK’s first range of black-eyed pea puffs, comprises Cheese, Sea Salt & Black Pepper and Sweet Chilli flavours and contains just 91 calories per 70g sharing bag. BEPPS’s black-eyed pea flour is naturally rich in Vitamin A and Calcium and is sourced from farmers in South America and West Africa.

Staying with healthier alternatives, Nutmad, launched last year by nut-loving foodie, Michaela Hardt, has brought out three new products. As well as Natural Almonds and Almonds with Sea Salt, it now offers Walnuts with salted maple caramel, Cashews with maple and rosemary and Natural Nut mix.

With more than two thirds of Brits (69%) snacking every day, snacks need to work harder and smarter than ever, says Dafna Bonas, founder of Indie Bay Snacks:

“Consumers expect their snacks to do more than just satisfy cravings, things like protein and fibre content matter. It’s not just health-obsessed consumers looking at the back of pack, 39% of snackers – millennials and mums alike – are looking for delicious, healthy, nutritionally balanced snacks.”

Indie Bay’s Pretzel Bites are allnatural, providing around 100 calories per portion, and are important as a source of fibre and protein thanks to the ancient grains, wholesome seeds and alternative flours used in the dough. As well as being natural, around 100 calories per portion, and a source of fibre and protein, the new flavours provide an easy, healthy replacement for crisps. They appeal particularly to the growing number of vegans, says Dafna Bonas:

“The vegan community is proactively searching for the right products, and the response we’ve had from them has been amazing.”

In the last year Indie Bay have launched two new flavours, gained a listing in Sainsbury’s as part of the retailer’s ‘Future Brands’ Programme, appeared at three shows and are now available in three European markets.

Sweet snacks

With the Government’s ‘sugar tax’ and their target to reduce added sugar in food and drink products by at least 20% by 2020, sweet snacking manufacturers have their work cut out. And yet the demand for sweet snacks has never been greater.

Three quarters of us struggle when it comes to getting our recommended five a day, especially when busy lifestyles take over and stopping for a break feels like a luxury. Despite being on the go much of the time, we also know how important it is to make healthy choices and enjoy a varied diet no matter how much time we’ve got.


The biscuits category is in growth, says Jodie Wood, business unit controller at Ferrero, driven by demand for ‘healthier biscuits’, which account for 30% of the total biscuits share and are growing ahead of the category with a value growth of £46.4m versus last year. Ferrero’s Nutella B-Ready multipacks are ideal for the ‘buy now, eat later occasion.’

For over two thirds of us (69%), says Jodie Wood, snacking is a daily habit, with products commonly consumed onthe- go to keep energy levels up between meals. There is a growing trend for midmorning snacking, with 54% of consumers looking to satisfy cravings with smaller snacks that won’t ruin their appetite. For those with increasingly time-poor lifestyles, snacking is viewed as a necessity, but home is still the most common place for people to snack, with evening being a key snacking time.

Fox’s Biscuits is shaking up its famous Party brand, with the launch of Party Milkshakes. With the biscuit category dominated by chocolate flavoured biscuits, Fox’s new Party Milkshakes look to add more flavour innovation and choice for families to enjoy as snacks at home or on-the-go. Fox’s Party Milkshakes will be available in a premium tray and sleeve format, with 5×18 g fun size bags at 78 calories per bag and approximately six biscuits per pack, combining a mix of flavours in each pack.

Fruit Snacks

Del Monte has launched two new onthe- go fruit pot snacking solutions, Fruit Express and Fruit Fusions Pot, in a clear, recyclable pot, each providing one of our five-a-day and free from artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives.

Fruit Bowl, the fruit snack for children that counts as one of the recommended 5-a-day, has been awarded two ‘Loved by Parents’ (LBP) Awards 2018. Fruit Bowl’s popular Strawberry Flakes won Platinum in the Best Children’s Snack category and Gold Award for Best Children’s Dessert. Frubis, a brand of Nuvifruits, part of the Luís Vicente Group, one of Portugal’s largest fruit production and distribution companies, has a new image, new campaign and new fruits.

Pear, Coconut and Green Apple has joined the Red Apple and Pineapple of the Natural Range. Frubis is made from fresh fruit, cut into pieces or thin slices and dried without further alteration, dyes or preservatives.


Having established itself as market leader in ready-to-eat, single serve popcorn with 64% share and the fastest growing brand in sharing bags and multipack popcorn, PROPERCORN is setting its sights on microwave popcorn, a major growth opportunity, with its new Sweet, Salted and Cinnamon flavours.

Snack Bars

Gnaw Chocolate’s new 35g chocolate and granola bars combine health and taste in its, containing seeds, fruits, nuts and up to 14% granola, suitable for vegetarians and gluten-free. The bars come pre-packed in a display unit, designed to be placed close to till point to maximise impulse purchases. Having launching its 72% cocoa dark chocolate bars, Gnaw’ now plan a new range of smaller impulse bars, to meet the growing demand for ‘Free-From’ choices.

Sweet pastries

Sweet pastries are an important part of the snacking scenario, says Jeremy Gilboy, MD at Carrs Foods. “Snacking is a way of life for today’s time pressed consumer, with 96% of us eating between meals and 69% doing so daily. The latest IGD figures predict the food to go sector will grow at twice the rate of the overall grocery retail market.”

Carrs Foods has responded to this trend with the new St Pierre On the Go range, comprising seven individually wrapped snacking products: Croissant, Pain au Chocolat, Brioche Swirl, Brioche Chocolate Chip Roll, Caramel Waffle, Caramel Cake Bar and Chocolate Cake Bar, with RSPs from 69p to £1.

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