Health-conscious consumers swap sweet for savory in UK biscuits and cake market: Report

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Demand rises for breakfast biscuits as UK consumers are more cognizant of health than ever
Demand rises for breakfast biscuits as UK consumers are more cognizant of health than ever

Related tags Health

Consumers are moving toward healthier options such as breakfast biscuits and away from sweet in the UK biscuits and cake market, according to a report from Key Note.

The Biscuits and Cakes Markets Report 2015 found that health has become a very influential driver for UK consumers. Many Britons are not only trying to live healthier lifestyles, leading a demand for low-fat and/or low-sugar products, but also want healthier products, such as breakfast and savory biscuits.

As a whole, the biscuits and cakes market saw a 1.8% value growth in 2014. Key Note forecasted a market growth of 9.3% between 2015 and 2019.

Breakfast helping drive healthy biscuits

Healthier biscuits, which include breakfast biscuits, saw £612m ($961m) of sales in 2014, accounting for 23.5% of the total market, 2.5% more than 2013.

The demand for cereal bars and breakfast biscuits in the UK nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014, as penetration went from from 23.8% to 46.1% of consumers, the Key Note report found.

Ben Slater, an analyst with Key Note, told BakeryandSnacks that the breakfast biscuits market is set to increase further, even if it is at a slower rate than previous years.

“Since their launch in 2010, the surging popularity of breakfast biscuits has driven performance within the wider healthier biscuits category,” ​Slayer said. “The growth has been dramatic and, although it might be beginning to slow slightly, the category has achieved lasting success.

“Marketing, distribution and promotional activity generated consumer awareness and interest, and the category was able to translate this into consistent sales by tapping into consumers’ regular routines and their demand for a convenient breakfast solution.”

Belvita was the first brand to launch a breakfast biscuit back in 2010, and Slater said it will continue to dominate the category moving forward. Competitors, such as Weetabix and Hovis, tried exploiting the awareness created by Mondelez’s Belvita launch “but have struggled to dent Belvita’s sales due to the initial brand loyalty” ​developed by the Mondelez breakfast biscuit, said Slater.

“As the category has become more established Belivta has invested in a wide range of flavor and format NPDs to consolidate its share, and, as long as it continues to invest this way, it seems unlikely that rivals can gain a significant hold in sales,”​ the analyst continued.

Health a threat and an opportunity

Although there is plenty of opportunity for companies to create new product development centered on healthy biscuits and cakes, Slater believes health concerns also negatively affected sales in 2014.

When considering the sector’s long-term prospects though, health is expected to have the greater impact,”​ he said. “Whereas the current popularity of home baking is unlikely to be sustainable among an increasingly convenience-driven consumer base, health concerns, and the focus on sugar in particular, are expected to become more penetrative.”

In addition, Slater believes there is also heightened demand for free-from products, with gluten-free seeing emerging growth as a niche part of the market.

The report found biscuits and cakes are more often thought of as unhealthy, so it will be important for manufacturers to increase the number of healthy offerings. 

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