Healthy growth looks set to continue

Healthy snacks

New research from HIM suggests that healthier eating will be important to 20 million people in the next 12 months. SLR offers some options for retailers looking to meet that demand.


With many retailers wondering whether healthier eating and snacking was simply a fad or would develop into a longer term trend, convenience retailing research specialists HIM have unveiled the results of a new study of UK consumers that points clearly to healthier eating becoming core to a huge percentage of the UK population over the next 12 months.

According to the exclusive research from HIM and sister agency MCA Insight, the trend towards healthier eating is growing into what they term a ‘mega trend’, with two-fifths of all consumers rating it as highly important.

The Healthier Eating Report 2019 was conducted through over 2,300 bespoke online consumer surveys, data from MCA’s Eating Out Panel that consists of 72,000 annual consumer surveys and extracts from HIM’s Healthy Snacking Report 2018 and MCA’s Operator Data Index.

The report highlights that 39% of consumers rate healthier eating as ‘highly important’ to them, with over one-third of consumers eating more healthily than a year ago. Refined sugar is the main ingredient that consumers are trying to reduce, however it is vegetables that are set to win in 2019.

Over 50% of UK adults intend to eat more vegetables, with 10% looking to switch to a vegetarian diet and 6% a vegan diet in the next 12 months.

The report also highlights however that local retailers are falling behind their supermarket cousins when it comes to satisfying shopper demands for healthier options. Supermarkets have the highest satisfaction score with 67% net agreement that there are satisfactory healthier eating options in supermarkets. This is more than five times the net satisfaction score for convenience stores (13.6%).

Gareth Nash, Consumer Insight Director at MCA Insight & HIM says, “The mega trend towards health continues to gather speed, presenting a huge opportunity for retailers to tap in to. Supermarkets are leading the way for grocery retail and providing consumers the solutions to eat healthily easily at home. With a smaller range it is more challenging for c-store retailers, however satisfaction stems from meeting the needs of consumers. Convenience retailers need to make their space work harder and place greater attention on the individual needs of their shoppers.”

“Our report highlights high consumer demand for an expanded range and more promotional activity around healthier options. Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming even more common place, so we expect to see more plant-based products to take centre stage in 2019.”

With all of this in mind, SLR has looked at some healthier options available to local retailers that could potentially satisfy shoppers’ desire for healthier lines…

Home grown healthier heroes

Scottish bakers Nairn’s have long been providing consumers with healthier food and snacking options – long before healthier eating became a mega trend – so the company has some lengthy experience in delivering high-quality products that deliver on both taste and nutritional value.

As well as being world-famous for their oatcakes range, Nairn’s has been busy recently developing new lines appealing directly to those shoppers looking for healthier snacking options.

The company has launched two new gluten-free products: Pop Oats – the first ever, gluten-free popped oat snack, and an Oat Bar range which has 40% less sugar than the average fruit/cereal bar.

Nairn’s is actually the UK’s number two gluten-free brand [Mintel, 2017] and is taking free from snacking to the next level with the new lines.

With very few oat-based alternatives to crisps on the market, Nairn’s longstanding oat expertise puts them at the forefront of oat innovation. Nairn’s Pop Oats aim to compete with other popular popped snacks from a taste and texture perspective, with the added health benefits of being made from gluten-free wholegrain oats. At only 83 calories per pack, they are a source of fibre and have 60% less fat than regular fried crisps.

Pop Oats are available in three flavours – Salt & Vinegar, BBQ and Sour Cream & Chive – in 20g bags with an RSP of 80p.

Also new is the Nairn’s Oat Bar range which plays straight into the growing ‘on the go’ occasion. The gluten-free flapjack-style bars contain 40% less sugar than the average fruit/cereal bar (compared to a reference set of over 150 other branded bars), with the added health benefits that come from being made from gluten-free wholegrain oats. The range is high in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals, and all three bars are suitable for vegans.

Oat Bars are also available in three flavours – Apple & Cinnamon, Cacao & Orange and Mixed Seeds & Protein – with an RSP of 89p. They are also available in multipack cases of four with an RSP of £2.49.

Healthier eating – in numbers

HIM’s recent Healthier Eating Report 2019 offers the following results:

  • 39% of consumers rate healthier eating as ‘highly important’
  • Over a third of consumers eat more healthily than a year ago
  • Refined sugar is the main ingredient consumers are trying to reduce
  • Over 50% intend to eat more vegetables
  • 10% are looking to switch to a vegetarian diet
  • 6% are looking to switch to a vegan diet

Better for you crisp alternatives

Crisps giant Walkers has launched its first ever taste guarantee promotion across its ‘Better For You’ ranges, to help retailers drive sales and tackle the misconceptions regarding taste in the segment.

The ‘Better For You’ portfolio covers a range of leading PepsiCo products including reduced fat, wholegrain and corn snacks. The ‘Taste Us. Love Us.’ campaign focuses on Walkers’ Snack-A-Jacks, Sunbites and Walkers Oven Baked lines.

Michal Iwasyszyn, Marketing Manager for the Better For You portfolio at PepsiCo UK, comments: “We know that shoppers’ number one concern when choosing smarter snacks is the perceived taste, but as soon as people taste our products, the repeat purchase rate is phenomenal, for example the repeat purchase rate for Sunbites is an impressive 54%. Snack-A-Jacks, Sunbites and Walkers Oven Baked are all great tasting so we have no doubt that this campaign will be a real success for retailers.”

The packs will include a distinctive flash to generate stand-out on shelf, stating, ‘Great taste guarantee, or your money back’. An exciting opportunity for retailers, the promotion will drive engagement with this range which meets the consumer trend for smarter food choices.

Walkers Oven Baked recently returned to television screens with a new tag dedicated to the year-long taste guarantee campaign on the brand.

The campaign, a first for Walkers, runs across the three brands for the whole of 2019 and is supported with a full marketing plan including TV support, influencer campaign, digital, on-pack flash, sampling and in-store stackers and POS to land the messaging across all consumer touchpoints.

That’s a cracker

Mondelez International’s Ritz brand is the number one selling savoury biscuit [Nielsen, Jul 2018] and, according to the company, offers consumers more choice in ‘permissible’ savoury snacks, while fulfilling the needs of the health-conscious consumer.

Both Ritz Original cracker and Ritz Original Breaks were relaunched with a new recipe with 70% less saturated fat in September 2018, alongside Ritz Cheese crackers, which reformulated to contain 50% less saturated fat.

Ritz’s new recipe is part of Mondelez’s global well-being strategy which commits to reducing saturated fat by 10% across its business by 2020.

Additionally, Mondelez has the UK’s number one healthy biscuit within its portfolio, belVita Breakfast [Nielsen, Aug 2018], which the company says is the only breakfast biscuit with proven slow release carbohydrates.

With one of the highest repeat rates in the entire biscuits category at 60% [Kantar, Aug 2018], belVIta has continued to lead the wellbeing biscuits and breakfast biscuits segment through continued investment in new products and large-scale marketing campaigns.

Meat the demand

Healthier snacking means different things to different consumers, which presents opportunities for retailers when it comes to meat-based brands that are high in protein like Peparami and Jack Link’s.

With the beef jerky and biltong category experiencing growth of over 10% year-on-year [Nielsen, Jan 2019] and the meat snacks category up over 9% in the last two years, there are plenty of opportunities for retailers to cash in.

Jack Link’s Beef Jerky and Biltong are made using 100% lean beef with less than 80 kcal per serving and high in protein. Ideal for health-conscious consumers and savoury snackers who are looking for more permissible, yet tasty treats.

The Jack Link’s products are ambient, driving value as the Jerky & Biltong variants provide longer shelf life, giving retailers reassurance on stocking products that are less likely to create food waste.

Peperami, the number one meat snacking brand [Nielsen, Jan 2019] is another option that taps into this and is a must-stock.

Scottish classics

Paterson Arran has been making oatcakes since 1895 when John Paterson first began selling his wife’s home-baked creations from his horse-drawn van. Times may have changed, but the company still bakes its oatcakes slowly and traditionally using an 84% oat recipe.

In 2002, the company switched from using palm oil to a more orangutan-friendly and sustainable olive oil. Now, they’ve gone one step further and moved to sustainable high oleic sunflower oil to make an even healthier, lower saturated fat product without compromising on taste.

The company now produces a range of Oatcakes, Oatbites, and Oat Bars that tick the boxes for those consumers looking for healthier snacks, produced responsibly.

The Cracked Black Pepper and Rough Oatcake varieties are low in sugar, high in fibre and wheat and are palm oil free. Paterson’s Oatbites are available in Cheese & Chive or Cheese & Mild Chilli variants and offer a healthier alternative to crisps.

Brand new for 2019 are Paterson’s Fruity & Filing Oat Bars, available in two flavours: Raspberry & Apple, and Blueberry & Cranberry. A real product first for Paterson’s, the Oat Bars are the ideal snack between meals and the perfect fuel for your workout and are palm oil free, high in fibre and made with real fruit pieces. They are also vegan friendly.

Go nuts with Trek

Also high in protein is a new range of bars from Trek, with each 40g bar packed with crunchy roasted peanuts and containing 10g of plant-based protein while also being high in fibre and having less than 5g of sugar.

The new Protein Nut Bar range from Trek is aimed at the increasing number of shoppers seeking out convenient, tasty and nutritious snacks to have on-the-go. There are four variants – Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt, Blueberry & Pumpkin Seed, Dark Chocolate & Orange and Coconut & Raspberry – providing a range with a bar to suit every shopper’s taste.

The range is available in 40g single bars at an RSP of 99p as well as in multipacks of 3 x 40g at RSP £2.50 for stocking alongside other snack and energy bars.

Reformulation drives sales

Snacking business KP Snacks has been working on improving the health credentials of its products and the way they market them for several years.

Its portfolio now includes 37 products that are 100 calories or fewer per pack including Pom-Bear, Hula Hoops Puft, Skips, Popchips and Space Raiders.

In addition, multipacks remain popular to help with portion control – 54% believe that smaller-sized packs of snacks help them to monitor calorie intake while also being a cost-efficient purchase.

The company also has active programmes across its portfolio to reduce saturated fat and sodium, as well as removing artificial sweeteners, colourings and flavourings.

So far, the company’s products are 83% free from artificial flavours, 92% free from added flavour enhancers, 98% free from artificial sweeteners and 100% free from artificial colours.

Lotus seed innovation

Snacking brand Guruji has launched an innovative range of popped lotus seed snacks. Lotus seeds have been valued in India and China for centuries for their nutritional composition, and have recently hit UK shelves in a popped format.

Presented as a credible alternative to popcorn and crisps, Guruji’s product range includes four variants: Smoky Thai, Cheesy Vegan, Lightly Salted and Salt & Cacao.

Guruji’s popped Lotus seeds are handmade in the UK, naturally gluten-free, vegan, low in calories and are a source of plant-based protein. They also have a sustainable life cycle and are hand-farmed: no machinery is used in the process meaning their product is not extruded. Lotus seeds are grown using natural water supplies.

Healthier snacks from Wheyhey

While many companies now offer healthier options, Wheyhey has been committed exclusively to producing healthier treats since its launch in 2013.

The business started in 2013 in a flat in Brixton after the founders become increasingly frustrated by friends and family digging into so called ‘healthy snacks’ that were secretly extremely high in sugar.

The company is now responsible for a range of treats that are naturally low in sugar and high in protein – principally because, as the name suggests, the company uses whey protein.

The product range now extends to ice cream and brownies, all naturally low in sugar and high in protein. The brownie range is also gluten-free.

Urban slickers

Adelie’s Urban eat brand offers a range of pots and boxes that provide one portion of a consumer’s ‘five a day’, as well as meeting shopper requirements for healthier products that are low calorie and incorporate fresh ingredients.

The range includes a Pineapple Pot, a Melon & Grape Pot, an Apple, Grape & Cheese Snack Box and an Apple, Grape, Dairylea Strip Cheese & Mini Cheddars Snack Box.