Seed and nut sales soar in health boom

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nuts Market analysts mintel Nut Mintel

Healthy snacks are poised for significant growth, especially in the
niche seeds sector with sales expected to almost double over the
next five years to hit £39m (€58m) according to a new report.

The research, published this week by market analysts Mintel, shows great potential in the seed snack market which experienced 300 per cent growth in the last five years and is predicted to climb to £20m (€29.8m) in 2006.

Nutritionally-aware consumers are increasingly turning to seeds, dried fruit and nuts to fill the gap between mealtimes and pushing sales of those snacks to the £0.5bn (€0.7bn) mark with 50 per cent growth in the category since 2001.

Tastes within the nut market are rapidly changing as consumers head for the premium end of the market, choosing luxury nuts with established health benefits such as Brazil nuts, walnuts or almonds.

Sales of these nut varieties have almost doubled in five years to £189m (€281.82m) and, in 2005, overtook peanut sales.

The popularity of peanuts have waned in recent years thanks to the anti-obesity backlash informing consumer choice.

Since 2001, sales of the high fat nut declined 4 per cent to £117m (€174.5m) and Mintel predict that the downward trend will continue.

Mintel senior market analyst Harry Foster said: "Peanuts have declined in popularity as they have been criticised for being calorie-rich, while increased concerns over peanut allergies may have put some consumers off, making these nuts an increasingly unpopular option."

The research found that women are more health conscious when it comes to snacking than men who are inclined to choose peanuts and mixed nuts over seeds, fruit and shelled nuts.

While the seeds market remains relatively free of new product development, nuts have been subject to festive innovation recently given their popularity as a Christmas indulgence - UK snack makers such as Walkers have rolled out holiday flavours and packaging.

Foster commented: "The market has successfully met the nation's demands for exciting and more adventurous snacks, and the ever increasing range of nuts and mixed nuts available has appealed to a wide variety of different people."

And dried fruit has also started to play a part in consumer snacking habits. Sales of the snack are now worth £176m (€262.4m) and have grown 56 per cent in the last five years.

Related topics Processing & packaging Health

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