Snack bars and fruit snacks had been driving industry growth going into 2020, with the latter particularly appealing to consumers looking for a convenient and healthy snack, and many snack bar products also able to tap into the health trend. While sweet biscuits sales had been struggling over the historic period, home seclusion due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) was bolstering demand for at-home snacking and indulgence in 2020, albeit expected to be only a short-term boost to sweet biscuits growth.
Fruit snacks were performing well over the historic period, with the prevailing situation in 2020 helping to further drive sales of these products. Consumers were already looking for naturally healthy snacks, and the pandemic only increased the focus on general health and wellness as well as the need to watch one’s weight.
Although snack bars saw a slowdown in growth in 2020, these products recorded healthy growth throughout the historic period and were responsible for adding more new sales value than any other category. Protein/energy bars and fruit and nut bars are proving particularly popular – the former often with fitness enthusiasts and the latter for tapping into both the on-the-go and health trends.
Sweet biscuits still dominate market sales, remaining popular as occasional treats, but, with the increasing emphasis on health, they continue to be frowned upon for their high sugar content. Players combat this by using natural ingredients and cutting sugar content, but they can only go so far in this as sweetness, to a large extent, is a key consumption criterion.
In the short term, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have been resulting in stronger sales of sweet biscuits. Consumers spending a lot more time at home, in what has been in difficult time for most, have been looking for little treats as small rewards: with sweet biscuits perfectly fitting the bill. Fruit snacks have also been able to tap into the health trend narrative in the prevailing environment in 2020.
Sweet biscuits will return to stagnating growth after 2020, meaning that the more dynamic performances in the other categories will only be able to pull overall average annual growth up to a CAGR of just under 1% over 2020-2025.
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