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Sweet Biscuits, Snack Bars and Fruit Snacks in Western Europe

February 2021

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.

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Key Findings

Health trend benefits fruit snacks

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.

Snack bars drive industry growth

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: too much sugar?

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.

Pandemic seems to boost sales

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.

Modest sales ahead

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.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Regional Overview

Western European sales see above-average growth in 2020
Growth spike in 2020 unlikely to be extended across the forecast period
Snack bar sales in the UK help drive the overall market performance
Protein/energy bars and dried fruit driving growth in the region
Decline in plain biscuits holds back the overall market performance
Market performance improves during the pandemic in 2020
Modern grocery retailers dominate sales in Western Europe
Explosive growth for e-commerce, forecourt retailers losing share

Leading Companies and Brands

The market is becoming more fragmented in Western Europe
Lack of dynamism in sweet biscuits sees Mondelez losing share
Mondelez is strong in France but has a good spread across the continent
Nutella continues to climb the rankings

Forecast Projections

Fruit snacks and snack bars will drive sales in the forecast period
Sweet biscuits will continue underperforming

Country Snapshots

Austria: Market Context
Austria: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Belgium: Market Context
Belgium: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Denmark: Market Context
Denmark: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Finland: Market Context
Finland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
France: Market Context
France: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Germany: Market Context
Germany: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Greece: Market Context
Greece: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Ireland: Market Context
Ireland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Italy: Market Context
Italy: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Netherlands: Market Context
Netherlands: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Norway: Market Context
Norway: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Portugal: Market Context
Portugal: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Spain: Market Context
Spain: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Sweden: Market Context
Sweden: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Switzerland: Market Context
Switzerland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Turkey: Market Context
Turkey: Competitive and Retail Landscape
UK: Market Context
UK: Competitive and Retail Landscape
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