Redefining the World of Snacking

Redefining the World of Snacking

For years, confectionery, crisps and soft drinks were the most popular go-to snack choices for the British consumer. But over the last five years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the world of snacking.

Now, thanks to the wider social trends around healthier living and changing preferences toward sugar and protein consumption, shoppers have more choice than ever when it comes to their mid-day snack, and it’s changing the way we think about snacking.

The U.K. snacking category is currently worth over £18 billion, and it’s growing at 0.3% in value. It’s an enormous category and an integral part of the store that drives basket spend through impulsive purchases.

The U.K. snacking category is currently worth over £18 billion, and it’s growing at 0.3% in value

The traditional core of the snacking category is made up of food and drinks, such as savoury snacks, sweet snacks, sack bars and soft drinks. And despite all of the news surrounding sugar and a growing focus on healthier lifestyles, shoppers still want sweet snacking products. Notably, one in four shopping baskets contain a soft drink product, and one in five contains confectionery.

But beyond these core snacking products sits a wide perimeter of snacking products that seeks to fulfil the next snacking occasion and tempt shoppers outside of the core. This is where the innovation sits, and more often than not, the  primary function of these products sits entirely outside of snacking. For example, most food and drink categories in the store now offers a “snacking” option: cereals transformed into on-the-go bars, spreads transformed into snack packs, yoghurts in the chiller, and an array of items in the produce area have been parcelled into snack-sized portions of fruit and vegetables.

It’s this perimeter that will ultimately shape the future core of the snacking category. This rise in the perimeter is being fuelled by three things: big brands, niche brands and private label. Big brands not traditionally associated with snacking products are expanding their scope to get in on the game. We’re also seeing a flurry of niche brands coming into the store, while private-label products are on the rise in this traditionally brand heavy category. This snacking innovation has increased as shoppers needs have diversified opening the door for the more nimble brands, niche players and private label to push through into the periphery and challenge the core.

Products that sit in the perimeter have a great opportunity to move into the core by becoming synonymous with the snacking mission, either in scale or by being lifted in by a strong consumer trend. To make the move, brands must continuously look outside of the store to the wider food and drinks market to spot trends early and promote continuous development of more experiential, convenient and innovative propositions. This means that the competition for products in the core is not only coming from the adjacent core categories, but also from the categories in the perimeter.

For additional insight, download our Power of Snacking report.