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While the snacking arena is awash with innovation, sometimes only the classics will hit the spot. Crisps, popcorn and nuts and seeds may not be hitting the headlines, but they are products that shoppers return to again and again. Indeed, according to research carried out by FMCG Gurus, 64% of consumers purchase crisps and 41% enjoy nuts and seeds.
“More people being at home all day during Covid-19 lockdown periods has supported growth in sales of crisps, savoury snacks and nuts, the biggest usage occasions being snacking during the day or the evening, and with lunch,” said Richard Caines, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel.
The category is hugely valuable for retailers: the crisps, popcorn, nuts and other savoury snacks sector stood at a whopping £3.8bn at the end of 2020, according to research by Kantar. And although the health trend is front and centre of many consumers’ minds, the market research firm found that enjoyment far outranks health as a driver for snack purchases.
Kantar’s data shows that UK consumers bought snacks for enjoyment most often (82.5%), followed by taste (64.4%), treats (45.2%), practicality (32.2%), and – finally – health (29.3%).
One of the best avenues for selling classic snacks is as accompaniments. While the average British shopper doesn’t require an occasion to indulge in a snack, there’s no denying the attraction of a salty treat when paired with a glass of something special.
Whether it’s inspired by our Continental cousins’ apero habits or simply by our own appetites is up for discussion, but there can be no doubt that whether at home or al fresco, a savoury nibble alongside a chilled tipple provides a delicious opportunity to indulge.
When stocking accompaniments, be sure to choose products that would pair well alongside a glass of something special and a cheese and charcuterie board, like Pea Green Boat’s Fennel & Chilli Cheese Sablés or Brusa Gourmet’s Italian Breadsticks.
While you can hardly get more classic than a packet of crisps, retailers that think beyond ordinary potato crisps will discover there are exciting spins on tradition in the nuts and popped snacks segments.
“Flavour innovation continues to be a major theme in NPD,” says Mintel’s Richard, “including tapping interest in world cuisine flavours, while better-for-you products, premium varieties and pairing with dips and alcoholic drinks hold more potential for brands to increase sales.”
Nut butters and nut butter-filled snacks may be taking the industry by storm – and for good reason – but there is still a solid market for a handful of straight-up nuts. BBQ has become a go-to flavour: Real Handful’s Somkin BBQ Trail Mix combines craft baked nuts with crunchy salted corn, while Sun Valley’s Spicy BBQ Peanuts & Corn are flavoured with flavoursome Tabasco. But nuts can go the way of a sweeter treat, too. Seggiano’s Ready to Eat Chestnuts are naturally sweet and wholesome, plus they’re high in fibre and potassium.
And although Peak Popcorn may have hit the industry a handful of years ago now, there’s no doubting that the consumer appetite for all things popped is still going strong. Popcorn is still often considered a lower-calorie alternative to standard potato crisps, but these days the real excitement is in the flavours available on the market, such as Karma Bites’ Peri Peri popped lotus seeds. More traditional tastes may gravitate towards Popcorn Kitchen’s Cheddar Cheese flavour or Somers’ sour cream and chive Gourmet Popcorn.
The world of classic snacks has never been more exciting, and retailers have countless options to choose from. By stocking products that blend classic comforts with a dash of something different – whether a health claim or a flavour inspired from abroad – they can cover all their bases.
To discover more of the latest trends in today’s snacking market, download Snack Buyer.