pladis launches 2019 Annual Biscuit Review and urges retailers to go back to basics with biscuits

pladis, the UK’s number one biscuit manufacturer and the company behind well-loved brands such as McVitie’s, go ahead! and Flipz has launched its 2019 Annual Biscuit Review, urging retailers to go back to basics with biscuits and drive sustained growth by optimising their ranges and getting the core right.

Almost a year after pladis revealed a three-year opportunity for biscuits worth £330 million, the latest Annual Biscuit Review demonstrates that retailers and suppliers have successfully unlocked £66 million of sales growth – leaving £264 million left for retailers to take a bite out of over the next two to three years. 

“According to our latest Annual Biscuit Review, biscuits are now worth £2.69 billion and growing,” explains Scott Snell, vice president of customer at pladis UK & Ireland. “This shows retailers are successfully tapping into the changing shopper eating patterns we predicted would propel growth back in 2019. 

“As ever, this year’s Review will be an invaluable resource for retailers, wholesalers and foodservice operators as we work together to unlock the huge £264 million opportunity that remains to be seized over the next couple of years.” 

Times of change

The launch of this year’s report comes as retailers large and small have been rocked by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Shopping behaviour has drastically evolved in the past three months,” says Snell. “First of all, we experienced an extraordinary surge in demand from shoppers stocking up on their favourite products. This was followed by a change in the size and frequency of consumer shops as lockdown measures were enforced in the UK.

“It’s likely that the coronavirus pandemic will affect both the way we shop and the products and formats we favour for the foreseeable future. That’s why this year’s Review is more important than ever. It will provide the clear guidance required to help all retailers make the most of the opportunity this crucial category represents amidst challenging and uncertain circumstances.” 

Core biscuits mean business

Responsible for delivering more than two-thirds of category growth in 2019, core products such as McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes and McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives continue to be crucial to the category’s success.

What’s more, in 2019 combined growth of the Top 10 core biscuit brands (+3.4%) equated to £422 million worth of sales and represented 21% of total category growth, showing focus on the core fixture should be a top priority for retailers. 

“The importance of core products to the biscuit category should never be underestimated,” continues Snell. “Last year was a strong year for McVitie’s – fittingly our 180th anniversary – and a huge contributor to this success was our tight focus on the best-loved products in our range.

“By carefully accommodating the needs of many of our customers and helping them to optimise pack formats across their stores, we were better able to give shoppers what they were looking for and drive growth by +1.2%. This demonstrates just how vital it is for retailers to get the range right.” 

In the convenience channel, 80% of biscuits sales come from only 8% of products. Using data gathered in more than seven separate in-store trials run in 2019, this year’s Review provides insight on the merchandising principles, promotional strategies and product selection that will help retailers win with biscuits. 

It also reveals that by optimising their core range of products and following the ‘Better Biscuits’ merchandising principles, convenience store owners could see their biscuit sales jumping by almost 30%.

Looking forward

In addition to an overview of the snacking drivers that continue to push category growth, this year’s review also looks ahead to the opportunities for biscuits in 2020 and beyond. 

They are: 

  • Be on hand wherever shoppers are

Monitor and remain live to shoppers changing habits and make sure biscuits are stocked in the places that shoppers want to eat them, whether in or out of the home.

  • Make it easy to shop

Make sure the products shoppers want are on-shelf and easy to find.

  • Drive new occasions and rituals 

Acknowledge that the way we eat is evolving and think beyond the traditional pairing of tea and biscuits. 

  • Attract younger shoppers

Young shoppers love innovation. So, look out for new products or twists on the classics that will have them heading to the biscuit aisle time and time again. 

  • Sustainability

Protecting the environment is on the minds of more shoppers than ever. Think carefully about the green credentials of both the brands you stock and your own store.

  • Health

Give shoppers the opportunity to stock up on convenient, healthy snacks when they’re on the go.

  • Indulgence

On the flip side of health, indulgent treats purchased with reward in mind are an important part of the snacking heartland. 

  • Trade up 

Add value sales by tempting shoppers to trade-up and premiumise their basket. 

  • Smarter promotions 

Optimise promotions by focusing on brands that drive the most incremental sales for the category.