Snacking goes on a health kick

Nairn's oat bars

With more and more consumers seeking healthier options when it comes to choosing snacks for consumption throughout the day, it’s worth checking if your range fits the bill.


Who doesn’t love a snack? Virtually no-one, that’s who, because some 96% of the population eat snacks with 69% of those snacking at least once a day [Mintel, 2018]. The crisps and snacks market is worth an enormous £3.2bn [Nielsen, Feb 2020]. But the category is changing, principally driven by growing demand for snacks seen by consumers as being healthier and less guilt-inducing.

KP Snacks has added over £142m of growth to the category in the last few years, and one man who knows a thing or two about it and this trend to healthier snacking is the company’s Trading Director Matt Collins.

Collins says: “The KP Snacks portfolio is currently growing in value at +8.4%, ahead of the overall category which is still performing well but at a slower rate of +2.6% [Nielsen, Feb 2020]. Vitally, the KP Snacks portfolio now includes 32 products that are 100 calories or fewer per pack including POM-BEAR, Hula Hoops Puft, Skips, Popchips and Space Raiders.”

It’s clear that health conscious consumers want products that are better for them and also for the environment.

“Snacks can be enjoyed as a part of a balanced diet and retailers are following this mindset by giving more range space for lighter alternatives,” says Collins. “We’ve been a significant part in this change and through our ‘Taste for Good’ programme have been working on improving the health credentials of our products and the way we market them for a number of years.”

Collins highlights Popchips, Hula Hoops Puft and KP Nuts as key products to range. He explains: “Popchips is growing in value at 17.9% [Nielsen, Feb 2020] and comes in at under 100 calories per serving and with a third less fat than the market leader. The core range includes BBQ, Sea Salt, Sour Cream & Onion and Sea Salt & Vinegar.

“Hula Hoops Puft is another popular permissible snack option and since the launch of Puft, the Hula Hoops brand saw a rise in RSV by +11%, clearly stating the demand for healthier options [Nielsen, 2019].

“Some 28% of people are also interested in a high protein product like nuts [Mintel 2018] and the relaunch in May 2019 of KP Nuts included a pack redesign to call out the protein and fibre contents to appeal to health-conscious shoppers.”

KP Must Stocks

KP highlights the following brands as must-stock healthier options for local retailers:

  • Popchips: worth £32m RSV and growing in value +17.9%
  • Hula Hoops: worth £13m RSV and growing in value +15.4%
  • Penn State: worth £8.5m RSV and growing in value +3%
  • POM-BEAR worth £37m RSV
  • KP Nuts worth £63m RSV and growing in value +8.2%
  • Butterkist: worth £44.3m RSV
[Nielsen, Feb 2020]

Another snacking giant fully aware of the shift towards healthier consumption is Mondelez International. Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at the company, says: “We know over a third of consumers have long been actively cutting down their sugar consumption [ShopperVista, April 2018]. At Mondelez our teams have spent years developing lower sugar recipes for some of our most iconic brands which offer more choice but still taste great. We’ve recently launched 30% less sugar variants across the chocolate, sugar confectionery and biscuits categories to enable Scottish retailers to tap into the lower sugar trend with great-tasting alternatives.”

Mondelez has also pledged to bring 100% of its chocolate and biscuit products typically bought for children to under 100 calories, as part of its commitment to helping consumers live healthier lifestyles. For example, recent launch Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo Treasures contains just 76 calories offering parents a suitable treat for their families.

“Indeed, the nation’s number one chocolate brand has introduced a reduced sugar variant to its much-loved range: Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar,” says Nash. Available in an 85g tablet and 35g single bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar contains no artificial sweeteners.

Cadbury has also introduced a new pack format for convenience retailers to respond to growing consumer demand for wellbeing offers through portion control. Cadbury Dairy Milk Mini Bars are available as single bars in a specially created counter-top dispenser unit for the convenience channel, to allow retailers to tap into this clear demand with a category-leading brand.

The little treat contains just 96 calories per bar while a larger pouch pack containing eight individually wrapped bars is also available.

Meanwhile, Mondelez has also been working on its sugar confectionery portfolio, adding a 30% Less Sugar variant of Maynards Bassett Wine Gums. With approximately 19g less sugar per 100g, the new recipe allows consumers to enjoy a less-sugar treat from the classic Wine Gums brand.

The healthier biscuits sub-category is also in growth and now accounts for 24% of the total biscuit market [Nielsen, Aug 208]. In fact, it has contributed to more than half of the total category growth in the past two years [Nielsen, Jul 2019].

Worth £76m, belVita is the UK’s number one breakfast biscuit brand and the range now contains a 30% less sugar variant.

Whatever way you look at it, retailers have never had more choice when it comes to offering their shoppers an appealing range of healthier snack products.

Grab a slice of cheese sales

Convenience, health and protein are key trends, and with 38% of consumers seeing cheese as a good source of protein [Mintel, Oct 2018] and 54% as a source of calcium, cheese snacking presents a strong sales opportunity for retailers, and continues to grow in both value (+7.5%) and volume (+6.1%) in the convenience sector and is now worth over £64.2m [Nielsen, Nov 2019].

The number one selling cheese snack product is Mini Babybel [Nielsen, Sep 2019] and is growing at 19.7% year on year in convenience. The brand enjoys 100% consumer awareness among parents and young adults.

Gaelle Vernet, Group Marketing Manager at Mini Babybel, says: “There are 650 Mini Babybel unzipped, eaten and enjoyed every minute in the UK. Loved equally by adults and kids alike, on account of its portion controlled, natural and protein-rich format, Mini Babybel offers a quick and nutritious grab-and-go snack perfect for convenience customers.”

Mini Babybel is available in a range of pack formats, including a net of 12, a net of six, a net of three and a single to target all cheese snacking missions.

Try merchandising the on-the-go formats (nets of three and singles) within the food-to-go and meal deal areas of stores to drive sales and encourage impulse purchases.