Consumer insights

Biscuit sales surge in the UK

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

The manufacturer of Jaffa Cakes has urged retailers to go back to basics with biscuits. Pic: pladis
The manufacturer of Jaffa Cakes has urged retailers to go back to basics with biscuits. Pic: pladis

Related tags Biscuit pladis

UK manufacturer pladis announced sales of biscuits grew by £66m (2.5%) - the category is now worth £2.7bn ($3.42bn) - and said it was on its way to unlocking a £264m opportunity within the coming three years.

The manufacturer of Jaffa Cakes and McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives has urged retailers to go back to basics with biscuits and drive sustained growth by optimising their ranges and getting the core right.

Its 2019 annual report found retailers and suppliers have successfully unlocked £66m of sales growth – leaving £264m left for retailers to take a bite out of over the next two to three years.

According to our latest Annual Biscuit Review, biscuits are now worth £2.69bn and growing​,” said Scott Snell, vice president of customer at pladis UK & Ireland. “This shows retailers are successfully tapping into the changing shopper eating patterns we predicted would propel growth back in 2019​.

As ever, this year’s Review will be an invaluable resource for retailers, wholesalers and foodservice operators as we work together to unlock the huge £264m opportunity that remains to be seized over the next couple of years​.”


The launch of this year’s report comes as many retailers have been rocked by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shopping behaviour has drastically evolved in the past three month​s,” said Snell. “First of all, we experienced an extraordinary surge in demand from shoppers stocking up on their favourite products. This was followed by a change in the size and frequency of consumer shops as lockdown measures were enforced in the UK​.

It’s likely that the coronavirus pandemic will affect both the way we shop, and the products and formats we favour for the foreseeable future. That’s why this year’s Review is more important than ever. It will provide the clear guidance required to help all retailers make the most of the opportunity this crucial category represents amidst challenging and uncertain circumstances​.”

Combined growth

Pladis said the combined growth of its top 10 core biscuit brands (+3.4%) equated to £422m of sales and represented 21% of total category growth. It also revealed figures that suggested just 8% of products accounted for 90% of biscuit sales in the convenience channel, reflecting the impact of consumer shopping habits from the coronavirus.

The company’s Review also identified a number of key opportunities manufacturers could look to in order to help boost their sales, including sustainable packaging and making products healthier to make biscuits more attractive to younger consumers. It also revealed recommendations for new snacking opportunities, as well as innovating ranges.

The importance of core products to the biscuit category should never be underestimated​,” said Snell. “Last year was a strong year for McVitie’s – fittingly our 180th anniversary – and a huge contributor to this success was our tight focus on the best-loved products in our range​.

By carefully accommodating the needs of many of our customers and helping them to optimise pack formats across their stores, we were better able to give shoppers what they were looking for and drive growth by +1.2%. This demonstrates just how vital it is for retailers to get the range right​.”

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