Competitor Strategies in Snacks

November 2022

The recovery of on-the-go consumption supported snack sales growth in 2022. Leading snack players maintained their positions and growth trajectory in 2022. They are investing in fast-growing categories through the acquisition of new brands, and are expanding to developing markets to benefit from faster growth rates, often incorporating local flavours. Snacks perceived as healthier, but combined with indulgence, and efficient supply chains will define future growth.

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Key Findings

Leading snacks brand owners maintain their positions in 2022

The relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and the consequent recovery in on-the-go consumption had a positive impact on the global market for snacks in 2022. PepsiCo leads global sales, with an 8% value share. The company also saw the highest growth from market momentum and market share compared to the other top players in 2022.

Top 10 players increase their presence in developing markets

Leading snacks players are increasing their presence in developing markets to benefit from faster growth. Snack companies are adapting to specific market conditions by incorporating local flavours, optimising pricing strategies and strengthening distribution. For example, Unilever is eyeing Turkey and Brazil for future growth. Mondelez has expanded in developing markets, including the 2022 acquisition of leading Mexican confectionery company Ricolino.

Acquisitions support transformation strategies and leadership positions

The top 10 players are investing in fast-growing categories through the acquisition of new brands. Ferrero registered the highest growth from M&A over 2017-2022. The company acquired Fulfil Nutrition in 2022, in order to consolidate its presence in snack bars. Mondelez also increased its presence in snack bars with the US acquisition of Clif Bar in 2022.

Snack industry leaders increase their offer of better for you products

Leading players are expanding their portfolios of better for you products. New varieties of existing products with less sugar, salt and/or fewer calories are proliferating, as consumers put more focus on their health – particularly triggered by the pandemic. Government regulations, such as those relating to products high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) in England, and labelling requirements in Colombia and Argentina, have also encouraged companies to invest in healthier varieties.

Key findings
Top snack companies ranked by retail sales at a glance
Industry shows signs of increasing dependence on high-growth categories
Persistent demand for snacks continues to deliver growth to snacks players
Emerging markets become a focus for growth
While leading players are well positioned, declining shares indicate a challenge to adapt
Companies with high dependency on top brands add value to existing products
Top 10 snack companies maintain their leadership
PepsiCo’s focus on savoury snacks is expected to bring value – particularly in the US
Mondelez continues to deliver on accessible Indulgence of its key brands
Mars shows commitment to its profitable chocolate confectionery business
Nestlé is transitioning from its chocolate confectionery core to more health and wellness
Ferrero takes actions to reinforce its position in chocolate confectionery
Unilever set to retain its lead in ice cream globally
Hershey Co expands its offer of better for you confectionery
Savoury snacks drive Kellogg’s growth – Pringles and Cheez-it are key
General Mills is one of the main players in snack bars and fruit snacks in the US
Lindt is strengthening e-commerce while remaining attentive to the customer experience
Future snack market growth will be supported by healthier snacks
Leading players reformulate their products to adapt to HFSS regulation in England
The need for indulgence and preference for familiar brands characterised 2022


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