Health and indulgence are two growing biscuit trends, says Mintel

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Biscuit United biscuits Mintel

Concerns over health have benefited the healthier sweet biscuits segment, according to new research by Mintel, as the industry seeks to improve its health credentials by reducing saturated fat levels and calorie content.

The 2011 report: Biscuits, Cookies and Crackers found that 'healthier' biscuits (including lower fat and sugar varieties) dominate sector sales at £468m, accounting for as many as a quarter of all sweet biscuits sales and increasing 16 per cent between 2008 and 2010.

The growth for health and indulgence has also been observed in the confectionery market by Mintel analyst David Jago.

According to Jago, more than half of UK consumers always or sometimes avoid “additives” in food, with 65-70 per cent avoiding high fat and sugar.

Smaller portions

Jago previously projected an increase for smaller chocolate bars, due to growing concerns about health and calories and increasing popularity for indulgent treats.

This smaller-portion trend has also been projected for biscuit portion sizes for the same reasons, Amy Lloyd, MIntel analyst and author of the new biscuit report told

According to Lloyd, individually wrapped biscuits are the second biggest sellers at £381m.

One example of this, said Lloyd, is the recent launch of McVitie’s Temptations by United Biscuits (UB), a range of bite-sized premium chocolate biscuits.

“The Special Treats segment is currently performing very strongly, with sales worth £171m and growing by 14 per cent,”​ said Sarah Heynen, marketing director of Sweet Biscuits, UB UK whilst announcing the launch.

“It’s a growing segment from which retailers should be looking to take advantage to grow sales and profits,” ​she said.

Lloyd said consumers’ search for everyday indulgence has boosted the everyday and special treats segments.

She said it had benefitted from consumers looking for a little bit of indulgence during the recession, with self-gifting a key driver in times of economic uncertainty.

Biscuit boom

Continued growth is projected for the UK biscuit market over the next five years, according to Mintel, a segment which consumers are unlikely to cut back on, despite tightening their purse-strings elsewhere.

“Biscuits are an everyday, cheaper treat where people are willing to indulge,”​ said Lloyd.

Therefore, the biscuit segment has been fairly recession-resistant, she said.

According to the 2011 report, UK sales increased for this category by 22 per cent in 2005 to reach £2.2bn by 2010.

Sales are set to grow further, according to the analyst, increasing by 15 per cent to reach £2.6bn in 2015.

The sweet biscuit market alone is projected to grow a further 16 per cent in the next five years, from £1.9bn in 2010 to reach £2.2bn by 2015.

Drop for the selection box

However, as other biscuit products jump up in sales, there has been a sales drop for the seasonal biscuit selection box.

Valued at £190m in 2008, sales fell by 11 per cent over the past two years to £170m in 2010, said the report.

There’s not been much innovation on the seasonal side for biscuits boxes, said Lloyd.

This is due to growing competition from the confectionery category, she said, which invests a lot into its products during Easter and Halloween.

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