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According to Keynote, the UK snack industry has grown through the downturn years due to snacks’ enduring popularity, the growth of adult lunchboxes, and manufacturers tapping into the bag sharing trend and responding to demand for healthy snacks and innovative flavours.

chazPotato crisps continue to dominate savoury snacks after many decades. “Traditional” crisps remain the bestsellers, but the large and small manufacturers alike have responded to 21st century health concerns by changing their content, and production methods to be less fatty and more natural so we now see less salty crisps and more baked rather than fried crisps on shelves. Crisp flavours have also grown more creative, with plenty of room for niche players with something different to offer.

“Other” savoury snacks are also growing, fuelled by the mounting demand for healthy snacks. Demand for snacking nuts is growing too, due to their perceived health benefits. Historically their higher price point compared to other savoury treats has limited the category’s growth, but as the economy recovers that should change.

Snacking has also benefited in recent times from the rise in popularity of adult lunchboxes, which now account for 70.8% of all lunchbox meals, according to Kantar. Lunchboxes have been going upmarket, good news for premium brands, as professionals, like the rest of us keen on saving money in the recession by bringing their lunch to work, still want a quality lunch.

Meanwhile snacking in all its forms, sweet as well as salty, continues to reap the rewards from our love of Big or Small Nights In crammed with home entertainment, and nibbles, and hence snacks at hand to enhance this experience. Snacking sales are also boosted by the mass popularity of televised events like the current summer highlights the World Cup, Wimbledon and Glastonbury, which all help drive volume sales.

With Walkers, KP Foods and P&G representing the major branded players and shoals of smaller players nibbling at their tails, the snacking manufacturers are in as intense competition as ever and lure consumers through campaigns and promotions, as well as continued flavour and packaging innovations, appealing to consumers’ desire to explore new taste propositions. To put the colossal size of the snacking opportunity in perspective, in their December 2013 report Euromonitor expected sales of sweet and savoury snacks together to reach £5.5 billion over the forecast period. Watch this space!

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