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A study by market analyst group, Key Note, indicates that greater health-related innovation and product reformulation is needed in the sector to reverse falling sales and encourage demand to pick up.
The sweet and salty snack market is predicted to show a slight yearly decline in value terms until 2011, with sweet products in particular damaging the sector.
Indeed, between September 2004 and May 2005, salty snack sales fell 3.3% and sweet snacks fell two percent in the year ending May 2006.
The report states, ‘The Government and others campaigns to reduce levels of fat, salt and sugar in consumer’s diets – in response to the substantial and growing numbers of overweight and obese persons in the population – have had an adverse effect on sales of sweet and salty snacks’.
In the research, salty snacks are classified as crisps, snack nuts and other savoury items – extruded or pelleted products – while sweet snacks are those such as chocolate biscuit bars, cereal and cake bars or mini rolls.
Reflecting health trends, the only strong and continuous growth in the market originates in the snack nuts and cereal bar sectors – crisps and chocolate countlines remain static while chocolate biscuit bars and cake bars are in significant decline.
In order to combat dropping sales, large manufacturers such as Walkers and United Biscuits have led the way by reducing the fat and salt content of major brands or targeting a new audience.
On the other side of the coin, snack nuts and cereal bars have benefited from their supposedly healthy image and other snack sectors have responded by producing more upmarket, premium indulgence products. Manufacturers such as snack maker Kettle Foods have turned to more sophisticated versions of core lines to reach older consumers with gourmet tastes.
‘This trend is expected to address the issue of the ageing population profile, as older consumers tend to have more refined tastes, to which such products should appeal’, the report concludes.
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