Ailing snack market hit by health worries

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Marketing, Obesity, Nutrition

The UK sweet and salty snacks market has seen disappointing sales
in the wake of Government efforts to reduce obesity by alerting
consumers to the importance of a healthy diet.

A report by market analyst group Key Note indicates that greater health-related innovation and product reformulation is needed in the sector to reverse falling sales and encourage demand to pick up. The sweet and salty snack market is predicted to show a slight yearly decline in value terms until 2011 with sweet products in particular damaging the sector. Between September 2004 and May 2005 salty snack sales fell 3.3 per cent and sweet snacks fell 2 per cent in the year ending May 2006. The report says: "The Government and others campaigns to reduce levels of fat, salt and sugar in consumer's diets – in response to the substantial and growing numbers of overweight and obese persons in the population – have had an adverse effect on sales of sweet and salty snacks." ​In the research salty snacks are classified as crisps, snack nuts and other savoury items – extruded or pelleted products – while sweet snacks are those such as chocolate biscuit bars, cereal bars and cake bars or mini rolls. The largest market share holders in the sector are chocolate countlines with 27.4 per cent, crisps at 24.8 per cent and other savoury snacks with 23.9 per cent. Cake bars and mini-rolls are the smallest category with a 2.1 per cent market share. Reflecting health trends, the only strong and continuous growth in the market originates in the snack nuts and cereal bar sectors – crisps and chocolate countlines remain static while chocolate biscuit bars and cake bars are in significant decline. In order to combat dropping sales, large manufacturers such as Walkers and United Biscuits have led the way by reducing the fat and salt content of major brands or targeting a new audience. Snack nuts and cereal bars have benefited from their supposedly healthy image and other snack sectors have responded by producing more upmarket, premium indulgence products. Manufacturers such as snack maker Kettle Foods have turned to more sophisticated versions of core lines to reach older consumers with gourmet tastes. "This trend is expected to address the issue of the ageing population profile, as older consumers tend to have more refined tastes, to which such products should appeal,"​ the report states.

Related topics: Ingredients, Health

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