The total crisps, nuts and savour snacks market grew by 6.7% to £1.9bn in the 52 weeks to 20 February 2011, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.
Branded products were the star performers, however. Total branded crisps, nuts and savoury snacks sales rose by 8.3% to £1.4bn but private label lines grew by just 2.7% to £500m.
The sales trends support the view consumers are continuing to buy savoury snacks, despite the economic downturn. And, because they are viewed as treats, they are choosing their favourite labels versus cheaper own label lines.
Within the category, crisps have the lion’s share of sales, £814m, and are enjoying the strongest growth, up 7.1% in the year to 20 February 2011.
Savoury snacks are gaining ground, however. With sales up 6.6%, the market is now worth £757m. Nuts performed well in value terms, up 6.2% to £311m but volume sales were almost flat, up 0.4% in the period.
Crisps volumes increased a healthy 5.5% in the year, while savoury snacks posted 2% volume growth.
Snacking frequency on the increase in the UK but fewer healthy choices being made
A study by TNS Omnibus has revealed 97% of UK adults snack between meals.
Worse, with the UK now branded as the most obese country in Europe, the research also identifies a preference for ‘junk’ food over healthy treats. Almost half of the respondents in the study – 45% – said they would choose chocolate or crisps as a snack versus the 14% who would choose fruit.
Snacking isn’t purely an occasional treat for many people either, the study found.
For half of all women, snacking at least twice a day is standard and it is the status quo for 41% of men.
However, while people may indulge with treats throughout the day, more than half – 54% – hope to alter their habits and either stop, cut down or train themselves to make healthier choices.
From a geographical perspective, Londoners snack the most with almost one third – 30% – saying they snack at least three times a day.
People in the south east, meanwhile, snack less often with only 9% of respondents claiming to snack as frequently. People in the capital are less likely to fee guilty about snacking versus residents in other parts of the country, however.
Half of Londoners say they are happy with their snack habits compared to just 42% in Wales and the west of England.
The TNS study also explores how children are impacted by adult snacking habits and, in particular, the product choices parents make for their children.
Interestingly, more than six out of 10 adults (62%) claim they would pick fruit as the number one choice of snack for their children; despite being unable to resist eating sugary foods themselves.
However, over three quarters – 78% – concede their children would also select less healthy food, given the option.
The study considers where the responsibility for children’s diets lies and whether the onus is on parents and/or manufacturers.
While the majority of parents – 89% – said it was their remit to control the amount of food their children eat, 72% felt manufacturers had a responsibility to revamp food labelling to incorporate portion size information for children.
Additionally, over two thirds of parents – 69% – said there should be the option of smaller sized products to ease limiting their own food intake.
While portion control is viewed as a key element in childhood obesity, only 11% of parents believe it is the top reason for the increasing problem among UK children.
Rather, 71% blame lack of exercise as the biggest contributory factor.
Despite the high awareness among UK parents of what is and isn’t considered healthy, 83% said there was a need for better education on what to feed children, while only 3% felt the amount of dietary education was already sufficient.
Kallo Foods bucks trend with boost in sales of healthier snacks
Kallo Foods, a pioneer in natural and organic food, claims it is bucking the trend in snacking with sales of its healthier rice cakes enjoying strong growth.
The company, which claims to have created the rice cake market when it began as a family business in 1984, says it is still leading the way and has seen year-on-year growth in its Jumbo Rice Cakes and its Mini Rice Cakes, following the launch of a premium range.
Value share growth across the range has increased from 22.2% to 30.4% in 2010* and volume sales of the mini rice cakes have increased 495.9% year-on-year (Neilsen Scantrack). Kallo claims the figures show how the addition of a premium line is adding value to the category as a whole.
Elaine Underwood, marketing director at Kallo, believes the growth in sales relates to consumers’ increased desire for healthier snacks with natural ingredients and premium flavours. According to the company, the Kallo brand ticks these boxes compared to the long list of ingredients and additives common in many other everyday packet snacks.
In the last 12 months, Kallo has introduced a premium line of naturally flavoured rice cakes to capitalise on consumers’ growing demand for snacks. Flavours include Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper, Mature Cheese & Chive and A Hint of Chilli. These new variants are available in jumbo and mini sizes and in two new multipacks, taking Kallo’s total range of rice cakes to 22 products. The range is sold in grocery multiples and health food stores.
Underwood said: “We have had another exciting start to the year and our new premium flavoured range is proving a great success. We spend a lot of time listening to our customers and we know when it comes to snacking they want a healthy alternative and to feel good as opposed to guilty about what they are eating. Kallo uses 100% natural, wholegrain puffed rice, with no nasties or additives. We put a lot of thought into our food, because we believe the more you think about food, the more you enjoy it.”
Kallo said it is investing significantly in the brand this year with above- and below-the-line activity to support its growth.
*AC Nielsen Data recorded between ( 6 February 2010- 2 October 2010)
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