The UK snack bars market posted 6% current value and 3% volume growth in 2012, to reach a market value £524 million and 43,000 tonnes respectively.
Themes such as health and wellness; natural ingredients; and new taste experiences continue to move market share, but since the recession they appear to lack the power to grow the category as a whole.
With growing international interest in healthy eating, the market for nutritious snacks is on the increase across the world. Snack bars have emerged as an important alternative to traditional sweet snacks, such as chocolate, cakes and biscuits, while, in the bagged snacks market, products based on rice or other cereals are making an impression as a healthier alternative to high-fat crisps and extruded snacks.
Snack bars are eaten on the go by over two in five (42%) users, well ahead of the overall on the go snacking average of 25%, positioning them favourably to continue resonating with time-pressed consumers.
The market is also well positioned to benefit from its association with lunchboxes, particularly among adults. Some 27% of users of cereal bars eat them as part of a packed lunch, with the relatively stable outlook for usage of packed lunch likely to continue providing a market for cereal bars.
The granola bar segment outsells cereal bars by a small margin and accounts for a little more than half of total sales. Granola bars' perception as an all-family snack may open them up to more consumption opportunities.
The cereal bar segment has become more narrowly focused on health and weight management over the past five years, driven by Fiber One and Special K brands. In the meantime, sales of kid-focused cereal bars have declined steadily over time.
Kellogg Co of Great Britain Ltd led the United Kingdom snack bars market in 2012, recording a 27% value share. Kellogg owns a number of brands in snack bars, with its top brands including Kellogg's Rice Krispies, Kellogg's Special K and Kellogg's Nutri-Grain. Individually, these brands account for 10%, 7% and 5% of overall value sales in the category, respectively.
The company lost share in 2011 as a result of lowering its promotional spend, and due to the strong value sales growth of other brands in the category. However, the company remains active in terms of new product development.
For example, attempting to capitalise on the health and wellness trend, the company launched a high-fibre snack bar under the Special K brand with 99 calories per bar.
Known as Chewy Delight, the product also offers an indulgent element as it is offered under milk and dark chocolate variants, supported by a £675,000 television campaign.
For more information on the UK snack bars market, see the latest research: UK Snack Bars Market
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