Healthy Snacking in the UK (and tips on category management)

The UK food and drink industry has seen a wave of innovation in the last few years. The snacking category is no exception. When it comes to UK eating habits, 'healthy eating' has been a key focus, bringing a plethora of new and innovative products to the snacking scene. 66% of snackers eat between meals at least once a day, demonstrating how ingrained snacks are in Brit's diets.

Time poor modern lifestyles are one core factor fuelling our reliance on snacks. Millennials are now coming of age and hold a very large part of the UK’s spending power. They don’t mind spending that little bit extra in store to buy a product which they know is good/better for them.

Many shoppers would be willing to walk out of a store if they couldn’t find the healthy and on-trend snacks which they want (rather than opting for a traditional crisp or chocolate bar). This means for many retailers who don’t have something new in store, they’re missing out on incremental sales. People are much more interested in what they put inside their bodies. Consumers in general are focused on responsibility of self, society and the planet.

Shoppers are willing to spend that bit extra it means they’re consuming better for you replacements which make them feel good. Over the past few years we have seen the healthier snacking category move from one that only a few upmarket retailers gave any real shelf space, to a must have category that every retailer needs create space for in their stores. We’re often told that selecting nutritious and wholesome snacks can help improve our wellbeing – but could healthier snacking options be beneficial to your profit margins too?

The UK has a reputation as the largest snacking nation in Europe and, at an estimated worth of £18 billion pounds, businesses are clamouring to both satisfy the nation’s taste buds and grab a sizeable share of the healthy snack market.

Healthy Snacking in the UK (and tips on category management) - 2205e105 a959 4bb6 b4b3 b13ebf98230e

What Makes a Snack On-Trend?

It’s not all about taste. Of course snacks have to taste great, but all of the senses are engaged when snacking. We eat with our eyes as well as our mouths. Eye-catching colours, engaging textures and creative packaging all contribute to a snack’s success story. In this 'Instagrammable' shareable era, it’s the most colourful, most engaging and dynamic snack that grabs our attention. Every snack should tell a story. Shoppers want to know the detail about packaging and ingredients behind their snacks.

It’s not just eating snacks with identifiable ingredients and recognisable origins, it’s also snacks that have authenticity or a unique history. We know that consumers love nostalgia when choosing a snack, but there’s also room for 'newstalgia' and creative options that Millennials and Gen-Z will share with their peers. Modern twists on classic snacks.

Balance is the key word for successful new snacks. Consumers want to indulge, but in a modest, healthier way. More than ever, snacking is about balancing the ‘good’ with the ‘bad.’ Looking for healthier and indulgence in the same snack is key with snackers choosing wholegrains, vegan, or paleo snacks to satisfy snack urges while supporting good intentions. The perception of the snack market is that everything is a snack these days. In our frenetic, on-the-go society, snacks can be meal solutions, balls, bites, or just about anything else in between.

And it’s not just standing out in a growing array of snack options; it’s also standing out on store shelves by offering a creative solution that ticks one (or all) of the core snack trends.

Why Consumers are Looking at Healthy Snacking

There’s a very different game in town these days. Consumers are no longer happy simply sticking with the same tried and tested brands, it’s all about differentiation. Consumers are looking for a ‘wow’ moment, a chance to discover something different and be the first on social media with a new snack – the opportunity to influence, not just follow. Consumers' pursuit for health and wellness is impacting all aspects of life, never more than through food and drink. There's no denying it's reshaping the world of snacking; vegan snacks have hit the big time, protein snacks are in the mainstream and natural energy drinks are in everyone's fridges - a few years ago these would have all been considered niche! Healthier snacking has a sky-high penetration, but retailers need to make space for healthier options and adventurous flavours to stay on trend.

What Healthy Snacking Means for Retailers

When it comes to snacks, it can be easy to fall back on familiar favourites, with little to no time to contemplate or research a wider range of ‘free-from’ or nutritional food choices for their customers to enjoy. By providing a wider selection of healthy food snacks alongside their drink choices - snacks made from premium, honest ingredients and delivering indulgent taste to suit a more nutritionally-savvy audience - retailers can put themselves in a great position to expand their audiences and boost sales figures.

If you relate to what we've described above or you'd simply to introduce new flavours, formats and ranges, then speak with our team today to help you raise your snacking game!

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