Tuesday, 31st October, 2017

Snack Review 2017

It is official consumers are skipping meals in preference for convenient snacks on-the-go. Modern constraints, premiumisation and a focus on healthier choices has created a perfect opportunity for operators to appeal to this valuable consumer demographic through their snack offering. Encouragingly research from analyst Mintel expects the value of the crisps, nut and savoury snacks market (CSN) will grow by 18% between 2016 and 2021, to reach £4.3 billion.

“Snacks are an increasingly important part of the ‘food to go’ sector, both as a stand-alone product and also as an integral part of meal deals,“ says Alex Albone, founder of Pipers Crisps. “Within this market there is a definite and growing trend towards the consumption of premium snacks, particularly crisps.

“Consumers are becoming far more discerning, actively seeking great-tasting snacks in preference to mediocre, commonplace fare whenever there’s a choice. For them, it’s not about price; much more important is the value they get from the quality of the food they consume.  There is an opportunity to create a real point of difference by premiumising your offer, helping you stand out from the competition on the high street while driving your customers’ average spend,” adds Alex. 

Crisps are the go-to champion of the snack category with more than half a billion packets of crisps consumed year on year by 93% of UK adults.  However despite this the popularity of the great British favourite is falling and it is expected to decline by 3.1% over the next four years.  The arrival of crisp alternatives as well as the afore mentioned health trends are expected to make the most impact on the category as Mintel expect consumers to reach for vegetable based and popcorn snacks instead which can hold a lower fat content than crisps. 

Popcorn brands have heavily benefitted from healthier snacking trends, last year Propercorn reported sales of £10 million, revelling in the £87.4 million popcorn industry. 
“Health trends continue to drive the CSN category and should be a fundamental consideration for operators looking to grow sales of single serve snacks,” says Cassandra Stavrou, Co-founder of Propercorn. 

“This shift towards healthier eating and snacking has seen brands like Propercorn explode in popularity over the last few years. Providing a healthier, wholegrain alternative to crisps, popcorn has added more to CSN than any other category,” adds Cassandra. 

Despite competition from alternative snacks however crisps still consistently outsell popcorn, and the crisp category is benefiting from continued innovation by manufacturers to rid crisps of their unhealthy image.  This is being achieved through the use of ingredients, perceived to be healthier as well as the pushing of free-from titles such as Gluten free, Vegan and Vegetarian, which are now heavily marketed.  With good reason as the free-from category is expected to reach value of £531m, with consumers expressing an intention to purchase more from this category in the future according to Mintel. 

Also it seems crisp manufacturers aren’t just cutting fat but also pack size, as a simple alternative to continue to appeal to those consumers who want their food intake moderated. 

“Signalling a warning to the snacks market, cutting back on snacks is seen widely by people as an easy way to reduce their calorie intake and to feel as though they are taking action on health,” says Amy Price, Senior Food and Drink Analyst Mintel.

“However, there is demand for products that help consumers with portion control, either through smaller snacks or smaller-sized packs, thus offering permissibility and helping them to pace themselves when snacking. This is key to keeping consumers in the market,” adds Amy. 

Read our Snack Review here