World Market for Snacks

July 2022

2021 saw a positive performance, fuelled by the return of social snacking and impulse purchasing after COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out, with retail sales rising by 2%. 2022 will see growth challenged again, with the invasion of Ukraine pushing production costs up. Amid more frugal lifestyles, consumers will seek value for money. At the same time, there is room to leverage appetites for a treat, health attributes and sustainability.

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Examining Five Trends Shaping Snacks

New occasions for hybrid lifestyles

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred various new eating occasions which can benefit snacks players. More time spent in the home offers opportunities for meal substitution, as well as for reward and distracted snacking while streaming content or gaming. At the same time, the lifting of COVID-19 measures enables people to socialise in person again: a boon to gift and seasonal sales.

Elevated experience and novelty

The sense of treating oneself remains at the core of the snacks offering. As consumers have fewer out-of-home activities than pre-pandemic, and are reducing lifestyle expenses, permissible indulgence through smaller treats, trendy ingredients and sensorial novelty remain effective strategies.

Plant-based trend

The trend for plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods is spreading fast within snacks. Dairy-free variants – extending from ice cream to chocolate confectionery – have been particularly dynamic. Whilst the trend will further transform snacks, perceived value will often come from a combination of attributes, not least good flavour and functional benefits.

Energy and brain boost as new frontier in health benefits

Snacks hold an increasingly relevant role in easing access to nutrition. Alongside digestive health and immunity support on the back of the pandemic, energy boosting and brain health are two areas that hold promise. This is likely to expose snacks to new areas of nutritional science, and lead to closer rivalry with vitamins and supplements, energy drinks and coffee.

Sustainable snack proposition

The multiple facets of sustainable goals are slowly being addressed through innovation strategy, giving birth to more and more sound alternatives for the planet and for business longevity. Flexible packaging will evolve further, but more relevant is responsibility post-consumer waste, as well as the local sourcing of ingredients and shortening supply chains.

Introduction

Scope
Examining five trends shaping snacks

State of the industry

Snacks regain momentum after pandemic peak, but need to weather tougher conditions
Snacks have proved robust in the face of significant economic adversity
Amid toughening economic context, consumers not ready to cut down on snacks quality
Savoury snacks thrive as affordable meal substitutes, while impulse ice cream is back
High protein snacks among best performers, plant-based ice cream a standout
Savoury snacks find best growth in Asia, while confectionery regains strength in the West
Meal substitution a key engine for savoury snacks’ expansion
Health woven through best performances for snacks, led by US, China and India
Most portable snacks rebound amid re-opening of impulse channels
Proximity a major contributor to store-based retailing for snacks
Resurgence of proximity channels as people are out of home again
Value for money to become central to permissible indulgence equation

Leading companies and brands

Top players best placed to weather economic storm, with ethics and local supply in mind
Top snacks brand owners adapt to COVID-19 pandemic
Battle of the snack bars
Leaders in chocolate consolidate and ramp up sustainability efforts
Ice cream dominated by Unilever but sits outside of the group’s long-term focus industries
Fastest growing companies from developing markets, capitalising on unmet regional need

Top five trends shaping the industry

Examining five trends shaping snacks
Post-COVID-19 hybrid lifestyles spur new snacking occasions
RXBar AM offers a hassle-free breakfast option for the US hybrid worker
Taste and emotional connections paramount for augmented snacking experience
Cloetta injects indulgence into liquorice with bite-sized liquorice chocolate treat
Plant-based snacks: Dairy alternatives to become an expectation in sweet categories
Unilever pushes vegan claims in Mexico, positioning itself in plant-based ice cream
Snacks as health and nutritional lab for body and mind
Viva Vita showcases massification of vitamins through sugar confectionery
Sustainable snacks: From claim to solution
Mars promotes more holistic sustainability view with CO2COA

Market snapshots

Global snapshot of savoury snacks
Global snapshot of confectionery
Global snapshot of sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks
Global snapshot of ice cream
Global snapshot of Asia Pacific
Global snapshot of Australasia
Global snapshot of Eastern Europe
Global snapshot of Latin America
Global snapshot of Middle East and Africa
Global snapshot of North America
Global snapshot of Western Europe
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