PepsiCo brings Sunbites to nuts amid rising commodity costs

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers are going nuts over nut-based snacks, which is partly responsible for driving up the price of the commodity. Pic: ©iStock/Andris Tkachenko
Consumers are going nuts over nut-based snacks, which is partly responsible for driving up the price of the commodity. Pic: ©iStock/Andris Tkachenko

Related tags Nut Brazil

PepsiCo’s UK snacks subsidiary, Walkers, Ireland’s Kestrel Foods and Yorkshire's Bite UK are entering a category that is growing faster in the UK than potato chips, but they will be contending with higher nut prices.

Prices of nuts are soaring amid the growing demand for healthier snacks and an even more acute demand for nut snacks, which saw a 23.4% increase in consumption in the past two years, reported Kantar worldpanel.

The demand, together with poor climate conditions, caused prices of walnuts to rise by 20% in the UK, while Europe was hit by a 61% price increase of Brazil nuts earlier this year.

almond platation deyangeorgiev
Almond plantation. Pic: ©iStock/dayangeorgiev

According to Jara Zicha, market analyst at Mintec Global, prices for Brazil nuts have come down from the earlier peak in June, but remain substantially higher year-on-year (y-o-y) as production in Latin America is expected to decline y-o-y in 2017 due to poor rainfall.

He also noted that “weather has been favourable in Turkey for the upcoming hazelnut crop, with plenty of sunshine alongside heavy rains helping the crop develop well. Production for 2017/18 is forecast at around 650,000 tons, up 12% y-o-y.

“Finally, prices for Californian almonds have been falling since March, driven down by expectations of a large harvest for the upcoming 2017/18 season.

“Almond production in California is expected to reach 2.25bn pounds, up 5% y-o-y. Output is to a rise due to expansion in bearing acreage (up 6% y-o-y) and improved weather conditions, especially during winter and early spring, following several years of drought,”​ Zicha told BakeryandSnacks.

Health nut

Despite current talks about possibly banning the potentially anaphylactic shock-producing snacks on aeroplanes, edible nuts are gaining popularity as healthy snacks on-the-move.

In fact, according to Ann Woods, product development manager of snack nut producer Kestrel Foods, snacking nuts are “stealing the march on chips”​ and saw a 7% rise in sales last year, while chips sales fell by 3%.

Nuts are packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein; are a great source of many important nutrients and antioxidants; and have been clinically found to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Future Market Insights (FMI) said the global edible nuts volume surpassed 44.5m MT in 2016, representing market value of over $70.47bn, and forecasts global revenues to surpass $100bn by 2025, increasing at a 3.1% CAGR year-on-year.

The bakery and confectionary sectors are the largest end-use sector for edible nuts, and accounted for over 29% of global demand (12.5m MT) in 2016.

Nutty new products

Many companies are launching new products to tap into the rising demand for nut-based snacks.

Three recent introductions come from global snack giant PepsiCo, Ireland’s Kestrel Foods and Eruostar Commodities' Bite UK.

Sunny nuts


Walkers, owned by PepsiCo, has added a range of nut mixes to its Sunbites portfolio.

Thomas Barkholt, marketing director of PepsiCo, said the Sunbites brand already has a wide appeal and the new range will help retailers capitalize on the growing nut snacking trend.

The mixes are available in Nuts & Sun Ripened Raisins, Nuts & Sun Kissed Cranberries, and Crunchy Whole Nuts, in 35g single bags (£1 - $1.28) and 90g sharing bags (£1.99 - $2.55) in UK retailers.

Baked not fried

Forest Feast

Forest Feast has also launched a ‘Baked Not Fried’ range of nut mixes that are oven-baked in small batches at the roasting facility of producer Kestrel Foods in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Forest Feast’s range includes fruit and nut mixes – containing twice-baked apple, vanilla and cacao-glazed cashew nuts, roasted pecan nuts and roasted and salted almonds – and a nut-only pack of American pistachios seasoned with a hint of salt and garlic.

Available throughout the UK in 40 g packs at a SRP of £1.20 ($1.53) and a sharing size of 175g, retailing at £4.99 ($6.39).

Nuts about nuts


Yorkshire’s Bite UK has launched a range of Pure Bite Nut Cluster in the UK, Finland and Middle East, as well as baked rice, fruit and coconut clusters.

The Pure Bite range is gluten-, dairy- and preservative free, high in fiber and protein, low in calories and sugar, and suitable for vegans.

Bite UK, the retail arm of Eurostar Commodities, has produced over one million free-from snacks since its inception in 2015 by coeliac founder Jason Bull.

Its latest range includes almond nut clusters and hot & spice nut clusters; popped rice clusters in blueberry & cranberry; and strawberry & gojiberry variants; strawberry coconut clusters, available in 20 g and 30 g packs for £1.49 ($1.90).

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