Healthy just got tasty: Bite UK snack report summer 2019

Posted: 6 August 2019 | | No comments yet

Snacking has traditionally been the sector where health priorities take a back seat, but new Government guidelines, specifically those recommending low fat snacks under 100 calories, has raised the bar. ‘Better-for-you’ snacks need to entice consumers in with their packaging and then over-deliver on taste.

The healthy snacking market represents a major new opportunity for all retailers. Perceived lack of quality, and a question around claims not being genuine have opened up an opportunity for brands that can deliver on taste and genuinely back-up their nutritional credentials. 

Who is buying healthy, free from and low fat?

  • 59 percent of people eat savoury snacks in the evening*
  • 82 percent of people eat savoury snacks with a drink
  • This core younger marker is experimental and drives the need for newness
  • More than half of Brits eat nuts
  • The healthy snack market is becoming a mass-consumer trend

What are the ten most important trends in health snacks?

  1. Nuts about ‘better-for-you’
    2019 is the year of the humble nut. Steeped in natural nutritional benefits, the nut is a staple ‘health’ classic. The nut sector is already worth £317 million and we are accustomed to snacking on nuts on most eating occasions.**
  2. Brand extension
    As the category grows, expect to see some big name brands stretching their legs and expanding to take advantage of this growing market. Brands that have a natural affinity in the ‘better-for-you’ category will be stamping their logos on products that carry health credentials.
  3. Sweet v. savoy
    Traditionally, brands were either sweet or savoury but now brands are offering both. Universally, snacks are eaten by everyone, all ages and demographics with a particular emphasis on convenience. However, there is a real balance between sweet and savoury with consumers travelling seamlessly between the two based on mood, personal taste and occasion. Watch out for new innovative brands which smash apart the notions of sweet and savoury, offering snack varieties under the same brand headline in both sweet and savoury categories – and sometimes offering flavour profiles which could be interpreted as both sweet and savoury at the same time.
  4. Popped
    Popped is a buzz word for 2019 with many new innovations appearing where the products is popped or baked, not fried, creating a distinct low calorie product. Watch big, well-known brands expand into a popped offering, version or product from some of their existing lines.
  5. Low fat is the health cue
    Of all the claims made on pack, ‘low fat’ has the strongest pull for consumers. The penetration is the widest and it is also extremely topical having been under recommendation from the Government under the Public Health England (PHE) Change4Life campaign. It recommends that children are given snacks with under 100 calories per snack in a bid to reduce obesity.
    insect protein

    Insect protein – fad or future?

  6. Innovation flavour
    Success in healthy snacking is wholly dependant on over-delivery of flavour and taste. In competitive terms, the ‘better-for-you’ snack needs to be as good as, or better than, its full-fat counterpart. Expect to see brands experimenting with combinations to create unique, strong flavour profile experiences – more than likely to be a hybrid of traditional staples. 
  7. Specific claims for specific diets
    People who follow specific diets actively seek out and share new and innovative products which make their lives easier, and in doing so, spread of the power of these specific diets. The main claims are: high protein; high fibre; low lat; vegan; gluten-free; dairy-free; preservative-free; no added sugar; and no added salt.
  8. ‘Comfort foods’ get healthy
    Traditionally, snacks are there to make consumers feel good, or feel better about life; a little treat to spark joy and to perk them up or give them energy. Expect to see more products that feel like a virtual hug, snacks that are good for you but give you a warm, comforting emotion too.
  9. Drinks pairing
    A major trend in innovation is the pairing of all snack with alcoholic drinks. Taken in the ‘better-for-you’ category we will start to see innovation in healthier snacks which are paired with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to garner widespread interest and create snacking occasions. 
  10. Protein
    Arguably the fastest and most resonating sector within healthy snacking is protein. The UK market is saturated with bars and balls, however, as a staple for healthy living, protein is key and should be considered in new product development. Take insect protein as an example – fad or future? It certainly makes for interesting break-time conversation. Plant-based and sustainable protein is key and expect to see new ranges coming very soon with this in focus.

About the author

JASON BULL is the Founder and Managing Director of Bite UK Snacks Ltd.



*Norstat, Consumer Usage: 6,137 GB representative consumers of crisps and/or snacks in the last six months – March 2019

** Snackma 2019


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