In the past two years we’ve seen a significant shift as shopper dynamics have changed, impacting the buying habits of certain formats.

Impulsive on-the-go snacking purchases dropped as shoppers stocked up on bigger packs and looked for treats they could enjoy at home, particularly from those brands they know and love.

We also saw a shift in the demand for certain types of biscuits with consumers shifting away from healthier biscuits towards sweet treats and familiar brands.

During lockdown consumption focused on in-home and shoppers were looking for offers they could depend on and trust.

More recently however, as restrictions have been lifted, we’ve seen the on-the-go occasion begin to recover which is helping to drive more sales in snacks like healthier biscuits, cereal bars, and on-the-go biscuits.

“With shopper habits constantly evolving, it’s important that retailers carry a strong range of both on-the-go and single serve products to suit more impulsive shoppers out and about, as well as larger formats and multipacks for sharing or in-home occasions,” comments Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International.

Oreo is playing a pivotal role in recruiting new shoppers through appealing to families, with 50% (Kantar) of its audience being under 45.

Elsewhere, Ritz, the number one savoury biscuit brand (Nielsen), continues to provide a versatile snack great for sharing and nibbling, while offering more options for consumers looking for an alternative to crisps. Health and wellness have never been as important as they are now, after two years of facing the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Many consumers are placing an even higher focus on their wellbeing – whether that be physical, mental, or both – than ever before. In fact, 25% (IGD) of shoppers are more influenced by health when shopping than pre-pandemic.

Healthier options remain important for consumers who are looking for healthier ingredients such as oats and other wholegrains – but won’t compromise on taste. BelVita, for example, is well placed to help retailers take advantage of these continued long- term trends as the UK’s number one healthier biscuit brand as defined by Nielsen, and the only biscuit range with proven slow-release carbohydrates.

“At Mondelez International we have a strong track record of offering more portion control options and developing lower sugar recipes for some of our most iconic brands, as part of our ongoing commitment to help tackle obesity and help consumers lead healthier lifestyles,” adds Nash. “We’re committed to meeting shoppers’ evolving needs, covering the full spectrum from nutrition to emotional wellbeing, through our wide range of products and formats.”

Building on the huge success of Cadbury Caramilk in 2021, Cadbury has expanded the range to bring shoppers a brand-new launch: Cadbury Caramilk Buttons.

Available now, this exciting new addition to the Cadbury Caramilk range will bring shoppers the same beautifully crafted golden caramel chocolate, now in Buttons format. The new launch will also help retailers tap into more shopper occasions with the popular sharing bag format, perfect for “Afternoon Sharing” and “Big Night In” occasions.

In celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s historic 70-year reign, Cadbury is giving shoppers the chance to win a pair of limited tickets to the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on the 5th of June 2022, with fantastic views of the parade.

The prize draw gives shoppers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of one of the biggest celebrations in decades. To enter, shoppers simply visit jubilee.cadbury.co.uk and provide their details for a chance to win. The promotion runs until the end of April, with 250 pairs of tickets up for grabs.

Cadbury Duos Twist Wrap unlocks an innovative portion control mechanism – enabling consumers to twist to seal and save half for later for better portion control and more mindful snacking – for the first time on any chocolate brand in the UK. The new packaging is made using a memory technology solution, meaning the wrapper stays twisted by a single twist preserving fresh flavour, texture and shape.

Jo Harwood, Sales Director at Burton’s Biscuit Company, comments: “With economic and political uncertainty in the air, shoppers and consumers are looking to cheer themselves up with little treats – and the biscuit category is benefiting from this. “We are lucky to have some of the nation’s best-loved, heritage biscuit brands in our portfolio, and they are benefiting from shoppers’ and consumers’ increasing desire to give themselves a little treat. As a result, many of our iconic biscuits are growing ahead of the category, with everyday treats brands such as Jammie Dodgers seeing 7.7% (Nielsen) growth.”

Maryland is the UK’s No.1 cookie brand worth over £50m and bought by 1 in 4 households in the UK (Nielsen).

Seeing over 7% growth in a declining category, Jammie Dodgers is a key brand in the Everyday Treat fixture, having further appeal and over indexing with Families vs the rest of the Everyday Treat sector and Total Sweet Biscuits (Nielsen).

With 59% share of the branded shortbread market, Paterson’s is the established No.1 shortbread brand in the UK and has been for the last 13 years (Nielsen).

Bought by 1 in 6 households, and worth over £18m RSV, Wagon Wheels is the No.1 chocolate biscuit bar brand consumed by males (Kantar).

Burton’s continues to support its portfolio of brands with exciting new products and engaging campaigns.

April saw the return of Maryland’s ‘Keep it Kookie’ campaign which first launched last year as part of a major brand repositioning for the £52m (Nielsen) flagship brand.

“The launch of Keep it Kookie was a real step change in the way we communicate Maryland Cookies. It celebrates individuality and invites people to embrace their own kookie quirks,” adds Harwood. “This year’s evolution asks shoppers to join us in shouting about what makes us all different – because when we’re open about our kookiness, it’s liberating.”

A £750,000 TV campaign kicked off the activity and is supported by a Keep it Kookie microsite, where consumers are encouraged to ‘Share Your Kookie’ and vote for their favourite kookie quirks submitted by the public.

This coincided with a pack redesign, created to modernise the packs following the brand repositioning last year. A bolder design and bigger logo are joined by a QR code and social media hashtag to encourage shoppers to engage with our campaigns. Burton’s has also hidden kookie messages like “I’ve still got my teenage email address…Hello PrincessFairy1989” on pack to bring the Keep it Kookie campaign to life. Meanwhile, Jammie Dodgers is launching a mischievous campaign designed to disrupt the biscuit fixture and bring a smile to the faces of shoppers.

The brand’s iconic logo has been replaced on pack by a series of funny and relatable phrases chosen to resonate with families and their moments of mischief. The limited edition 140g packs will also feature the campaign hashtag #WitnessTheMischief and a QR code, encouraging families to share their own moments on social media.

#WitnessTheMischief aims to elevate the everyday snacking occasion by tapping into the successful trend for bespoke packaging; bringing it into the biscuit fixture with a disruptive campaign that the brand is certain will excite consumers and attract attention to the category in store.

Lisa Manning, Category and Insights Manager, at Border Biscuits, comments: “The pandemic spurred shoppers to look for comfort and escape in their food, with many trading up to more premium lines to treat themselves. As we return to some normality, consumers are still seeking indulgence but with a more balanced approach. Many are now choosing more carefully as they look for biscuits that are ‘worth the calories’ when they do indulge.”

There’s no surprise then that the special treats sector is growing ahead of the everyday biscuits category as consumers trade up to make those special moments really matter (Nielsen).

Building on this renewed interest in health following the pandemic, increasingly shoppers are finding ways to increase self-care and wellness that go beyond restrictive diets or fitness regimes. There’s a real opportunity for brands to play a role in how they make the consumer feel – both physically and psychologically.

“Enjoying a cup of tea and a biscuit, creates a moment that matters, offering consumers a comforting break and time to themselves,” adds Manning. “We expect this trend to continue as there is an increased emphasis around self-care and a more holistic view on health and what that means for individuals. Retailers should look to stock brands that cater to this trend of selfcare as people continue to look for more memorable products and experiences.”

Economic challenges are on the horizon, and it is predicted that shoppers will be working towards much tighter budgets as we look ahead (Kantar). As we’ve seen with previous recessions, consumers may be looking to treat themselves with smaller, more affordable products at this time.

Instead of indulging in a cake from a café for example, we may see consumers trading up on their weekly shop.

“We know that sustainability is top of the agenda for many shoppers, with many purchasing decisions affected by how sustainable a product claims to be (Kantar),” says Manning. “We therefore know how important these credentials are and have worked hard to offer retailers products that align with what consumers are looking for.”

In 2019, Border Biscuits outlined its commitment to eliminate 90% of plastic from core retail packaging and was among the first in the sweet treats category to proactively change its packaging to achieve a positive environmental impact. This move will roll-out into 2022, where Border Biscuits will make further changes to this pact.

Chocolate remains a top flavour in the biscuit category as consumers seek indulgent variants. With many looking to ‘trade up’ to make their moment special, chocolate biscuits are perceived as a more indulgent option. As a result, the chocolate biscuit market is in growth, currently making up 12% of all sweet snacks and the third highest share in the biscuit category (Nielsen).

“Shoppers are also looking for trusted, well-known brands as they look for reassurance from their purchases – essentially, they want a biscuit that they know won’t disappoint,” suggests Manning. “For retailers looking to increase profits, it’s important that they consider stocking a well-known quality brand to complement key consumption occasions, such as Border Biscuits.”

In March, Border Biscuits made the biggest move in its 38-year history, unveiling a bold new positioning and brand identity, new packaging formats and three new products that tap into the latest flavour trends. The new look and feel is part of a new strategy for the family-owned biscuit brand, aimed at becoming the UK’s number one ‘accessible premium’ biscuit and unlocking a category opportunity worth £190 million to retailers (Kantar).

As part of the re-brand, the business added three new products to its portfolio – a Dark Chocolate Orange biscuit and bar, alongside a Dark Chocolate Raspberry biscuit. Chocolate is the nation’s favourite flavour, and Border’s NPD demonstrates that the brand is led by genuine consumer insight, tapping into the latest trends within the sweet snacking category.

“With biscuits making their way into 99.5% (Kantar) of UK households’ baskets each year, the category has reached sales worth £2.96bn (Kantar). So, as one of the top-performing categories, it goes without saying that biscuits are a must-have addition to any snacking fixture,” says Scott Snell, Vice President of Customer at pladis UK&I.

“As the number one biscuit brand in the UK, McVitie’s should take priority when it comes to stocking up on biscuits. Sales of biscuit barrel favourites, McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives and McVitie’s Chocolate Hobnobs, are up +6% and +33% respectively (2021 versus 2019, Nielsen), so we anticipate that these products will remain key sales growth drivers throughout 2022.

Similarly, the crisps and snacks category remains a key part of the nation’s snacking routine, now worth a whopping £3bn (Nielsen) and continuing to grow (+6.4%, Nielsen).

Much of this growth is driven by the bestselling shopper-favourites – with the Jacob’s Mini Cheddars core range up +13.2% (Nielsen).

With the lifting of government restrictions and the resurgence of office working, on-the-go occasions are set to make a big comeback in 2022, presenting retailers with a chance to cash in on impulse sales.

“To make the most of this, it’s important that they maintain stock of popular grab bags, such as our bestselling savoury Flipz brand and range of Jacob’s Mini Cheddars PMPs,” adds Snell. “In fact, we anticipate that PMPs will be a trending format throughout the year ahead as shoppers tighten purse strings.”

Mounting financial pressures will have an impact on many households in the year ahead. Alongside soaring energy bills, inflationary increases to the weekly shop have meant the price of store-cupboard staples like spaghetti and tinned tomatoes are already soaring by +41% and +29% respectively.

All of this means that now, more than ever, Brits will be seeking good deals on groceries – and PMPs will play a key role in driving higher volume sales for independent retailers, as products in this format are perceived to represent good value.

“Another consequence of this is that Brits will have less disposable income to spend on evenings out – meaning the big night in will remain a popular occasion throughout the year,” suggests Snell. “As groups of friends and family continue to embrace evenings in spent playing games, watching movies and catching up, we can expect sales of larger formats – such as sharing bags and multipacks – to remain buoyant.”

Products in these formats are already top of shoppers’ lists when it comes to the big night in, up 27.3% alone for the Jacob’s Mini Cheddars brand (Nielsen).

Earlier this year, pladis launched McVitie’s Blissfuls. This first-to-market innovation sees a McVitie’s golden-baked biscuit packed full with a Belgian milk chocolate cream centre, flavoured with either hazelnut or caramel. Created especially for evening sharing, this moreish special treat has a more premium price point which will help retailers drive higher value sales.

Plenty of shoppers are now on the hunt for lighter, lower-calories snacks. To cater to this, pladis just launched Jacob’s Mini Cheddars Nibblies. With 30% less fat – and at just 75kcals per individual portion – this new launch is available in both multipacks and sharing bags.

“In terms of general advice, we’d encourage independent retailers to invest time in merchandising their core snacking fixture in the best way possible,” advises Snell. “An attractive display with a range of bestselling biscuits, savoury snacks and enticing NPD, located in high footfall areas, will have a strong influence on shopper purchasing decisions. It’s about making the shopper experience as seamless as possible, so themed space and signage, and offering secondary sightings – such as at point of sale – are essential considerations in order to maximise sales.”

Matt Collins, Trading Director at KP Snacks, comments: “CSN (crisps and snacks) is a fast growing, priority category with huge scale. Worth £3.6bn and growing at +5.7% YOY (Nielsen), CSN shoppers are spending an extra £100 in the category, +14% YOY (Kantar).

Launched this year, new KP Nuts Flavour Kravers range is delivering bold flavours to evening sharing, the largest occasion within both nuts and sharing (Kantar). Available in three flavours: Flame Grilled Steak, Smokin’ Paprika, and Fiery Caribbean Jerk Sauce, Flavour Kravers look to ignite interest from younger consumers to drive sales, with this demographic over-indexing in bold flavours (Kantar).

Over the course of the pandemic, we saw shifts in shopper behaviour and changing consumer demand, boosting Sharing formats which continue to perform strongly. Customers gravitate towards well-known and trusted brands with 41% of CSN sales going through the top 5 brands (Nielsen). Tyrrells Sharing is growing +9%, and popchips sharing at +8% (Nielsen).

£1 PMPs have also seen significant growth in the last few years and this format will stay increasingly relevant post pandemic. KP’s £1 PMP portfolio is currently worth £67.6m RSV (Nielsen), and is growing at +12.2% (Nielsen).

Earlier this year, KP launched McCoy’s Sizzling King Prawn in a £1 PMP format. The new McCoy’s PMP capitalises on prawn being the fastest growing flavour within the category, growing at +10% vs the category at +2.7%, making it perfectly positioned to engage consumers and drive sales (Nielsen). Last year, KP expanded its PMP range with the addition of three of the most popular flavours of premium snack brand Tyrrells, with 60g bags of Lightly Salted, Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar, and Mature Cheddar & Chive now available in £1PMP.

Matt Smith, Marketing Director for Tayto Group, comments: “Pork Snacks sales have been performing well as consumers continue to enjoy the ultimate pub snack at home – a behaviour encouraged by pub closures in lockdown, that shows no sign of stopping. As a highly impulse-driven category, savoury snacks are a key footfall and sales driver for convenience retailers.”

The extent of consumer concern over rising prices is highlighted in a recent survey by Tayto Group where 95% of consumers were concerned about the cost and availability of groceries with almost 40% being very or extremely concerned (Norstat).

Having been voted Britain’s favourite pub snack (Perspectus), scratchings are synonymous with the pub but surprisingly, almost half of purchases are in Retail (Norstat). Pork snacks saw growth during lockdowns as consumers looked to ‘take the pub taste home’. Tayto Group are the #1 manufacturer with the two leading brands in the Mr Porky (41% share) and Midland Snacks (18% share, IRI).

“Retailers can maximise sales of scratchings by tapping into shopper behaviour,” adds Smith. “Consumers looking for their big night in, day-out or home entertaining supplies, will be visiting the BWS fixture. With over 80% of scratchings being consumed with a drink (Norstat), hanging pork snacks clipstrips with BWS will capture impulse sales without taking up precious shelf or floor space.

Some retailers are missing out on the high margin, VAT-free sales offered by pork scratchings with over 40% of retailers who sell Crisps & Snacks not selling pork snacks – that’s an average of £7.99 lost sales per store per week (IRI).

Having invested in the biggest ever advertising campaign for pork snacks in 2021, Tayto will continue to support the category with campaigns throughout 2022 reminding consumers that ‘There is no matching a scratching’, as well as supporting independent retailers in maximising sales from this uniquely British snack.

 

 

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