In 2014, the children’s snack market – made up of products targeting consumers aged 15 and under – hit 16.9bn kilograms, up almost 2bn from 2011, according to data from market research firm Canadean. Most of this growth, it said, came from India and China.
But, Canadean analyst Safwan Kotwal said the market was under increasing competition from QSRs.
“One interesting challenge arising for snacking companies distributing through convenience stores and supermarkets is the shift within QSRs towards single-item menus,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“A trend that has been present over the past few years, this is helping QSRs branch out from the meal market into snacking markets and means they’ve become a new competitor to confectionery and savory snack retail brands.”
McDonald’s and KFC
Canadean said McDonald’s and KFC in particular were two leading QSRs that had menu options increasingly attractive to kids.
KFC in India, for example, offered corn in on-the-go cups, toasted wraps and popcorn chicken. Canadean said these offerings appealed to the busier lives of children in which a balance of school, extra classes and hobbies was becoming increasingly difficult to manage.
“As on-the-go consumption remains a key trend driving increased snacking, more QSRs designed to serve on-the-go meals will adjust their menus to offer snacking options,” Kotwal explained.
China was one market that would start to see plenty of “hot food snack innovation”, he said, as QSRs rapidly expanded across the country.
However, he said there was still room for growth in packaged snacks, given the sheer size of the demographic and low per capita consumption among kids.
Tactics for growth
In its Children’s Snacking report, Canadean said it was important for manufacturers to take actions amid this increased competition.
One area of focus, it said, could be the organic and natural snacking segment.
“The demand for no artificial colors, additives, and preservatives is set to rise as consumers’ dietary preferences develop to include more natural products in their children’s diets.
“…Marketers can target health conscious and quality-seeking parents by positioning organic products as higher quality, highlighting the superior attributes they offer compared to generic products,” the report said.
Canadean said another strategy could be to focus on sporting events, given most children follow one or more sport.
“National and International sporting events create opportunities to increase sales by adopting focused marketing campaigns. Manufacturers can maximize their sales in line with sports events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Olympics, Super Bowl, European Football Championship, Major League Baseball World Series, and ICC Cricket World Cup,” it said.
What was important to remember in all this, it said, was that ‘indulgence’ remained the strongest motivator for consumption of bakery and cereal snacks among consumers aged 0-15.
“’Fun and enjoyment’ and ‘indulgence’ continue to have a strong influence on consumption choice among kids. This highlights how, despite the importance of products being seen as upscale, good taste and fun and novelty are still critical to product positioning,” the Canadean report detailed.