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Biscuits, Cookies and Crackers - UK - March 2016

“While the majority of people are concerned about sugar, sales of sweet biscuits are holding up well. With consumers likely to become more focused on portion control due to concerns about sugar though, smaller-sized convenience products and mini packs that also cater better for on-the-go snacking are likely to become more important. The development of more added-value products that consumers are willing to pay more for is also needed to drive value growth as volume sales are expected to stagnate or decline.”
– Richard Caines, Senior Food & Drink Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • New pack formats and product pairings can expand usage occasions in biscuits
  • Fillings and freshness offer ways to add value to sweet biscuits to combat lacklustre volume sales
  • Threat from concerns about sugar and focus on health and nutrition

2015 was a relatively quiet year for sweet biscuits in terms of major new product launches, with the main emphasis being on brand extensions. Savoury biscuits saw the launch of more savoury baked snacks to take advantage of baked products being seen as more healthy than fried. This means the boundaries between savoury biscuits and crisps have become increasingly blurred.

While savoury biscuits might be seen as a substitute for crisps, this is less the case for sweet biscuits. The latter can look to add value through the development of more premium products that appeal to those looking for special treats, while both sweet and savoury products can focus on catering for more usage occasions, including the important on-the-go market.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • Minimal growth in total sales
            • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet and savoury biscuits, breakfast biscuits, cereal/snack bars, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
          • Sales of sweet biscuits holding firm amid sugar concerns
            • Focus on sugar and price pressures a threat to future sales
              • No sign of people cutting back on eating biscuits in 2015
                • Savoury biscuits eaten less frequently than sweet biscuits
                  • Figure 2: Frequency of eating different types of biscuits, cookies, crackers and cereal bars, December 2015
                • Sweet biscuits most likely to be eaten as a snack at home
                  • Lots of filling or a thick covering most likely to encourage trading up
                    • Figure 3: Factors that would encourage buyers to pay more for sweet biscuits, December 2015
                  • Linking biscuits more strongly to particular occasions
                    • Figure 4: Interest in trying different types of biscuit products, December 2015
                  • Concerns about sugar and interest in alternatives to refined sugar
                    • Figure 5: Attitudes towards biscuits, December 2015
                  • What we think
                  • Issues and Insights

                    • New pack formats and product pairings can expand usage occasions in biscuits
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                          • Fillings and freshness offer ways to add value to sweet biscuits to combat lacklustre volume sales
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Threat from concerns about sugar and focus on health and nutrition
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                      • Small increase in sales of biscuits
                                        • Sweet biscuit sales holding up amid sugar concerns
                                          • Baked snacks help sales of savoury biscuits
                                            • Strong NPD activity in cereal bars and breakfast biscuits
                                              • Focus on sugar in media could impact on future sales
                                                • Growing real incomes but a changed retail landscape
                                                  • Increased competition in snack foods
                                                    • Growth in the child population and number of over-55s
                                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                                      • Small increase in sales of biscuits and cereal bars in 2015
                                                        • Figure 6: Total UK retail volume and value sales of sweet and savoury biscuits, breakfast biscuits, cereal/snack bars, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                      • The future
                                                          • Figure 7: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet and savoury biscuits, breakfast biscuits, cereal/snack bars, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                          • Figure 8: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK retail volume sales of sweet and savoury biscuits, breakfast biscuits, cereal/snack bars, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                      • Segment Performance

                                                        • Sweet biscuit sales hold firm amid sugar concerns
                                                          • Figure 9: Total UK retail volume and value sales of sweet biscuits, 2010-20
                                                          • Figure 10: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, 2010-20
                                                          • Figure 11: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail volume sales of sweet biscuits, 2010-20
                                                        • Savoury biscuits helped by appeal of baked snacks
                                                          • Figure 12: Total UK retail volume and value sales of savoury biscuits, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                          • Figure 13: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of savoury biscuits, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                          • Figure 14: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail volume sales of savoury biscuits, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                        • NPD activity helps sales of cereal bars and breakfast biscuits
                                                          • Figure 15: Total UK retail volume and value sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2010-20
                                                          • Figure 16: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2010-20
                                                          • Figure 17: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail volume sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2010-20
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • Focus on sugar and obesity epidemic could hit biscuits
                                                          • Ongoing focus on sugar
                                                            • Little impact on biscuits
                                                              • Figure 18: Factors deemed important when looking for healthy food, November 2015
                                                            • Growth in real incomes but a changed retail landscape
                                                              • Figure 19: Frequency of visiting discount stores, by brand, July 2015
                                                            • Competition and blurring of product boundaries in snack foods
                                                              • Projected increase in the number of children and over-55s
                                                                • Figure 20: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2010-20
                                                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                              • McVitie’s benefits from new launch and promotional activity
                                                                • Jacob’s strengthens its lead in savoury biscuits
                                                                  • Belvita benefits from range extensions
                                                                    • Less advertising for sweet biscuits hits total spending in 2015
                                                                      • McVitie’s and Oreo lead sweet biscuit advertising
                                                                        • Snack versatility a major theme in savoury biscuits
                                                                          • Breakfast biscuits focus on getting your morning going
                                                                            • Four in ten sweet biscuit launches by retailers
                                                                              • More flavours and bite-size snacks in savoury biscuits
                                                                                • Snack/cereal/energy bars focus on functional benefits
                                                                                • Market Share

                                                                                  • McVitie’s has big lead in sweet biscuits
                                                                                    • Figure 21: Leading brands’ sales in the sweet biscuits market, by value and volume, 2013/14 and 2014/15
                                                                                  • Jacob’s puts in a strong sales performance
                                                                                    • Figure 22: Leading brands in the savoury biscuits, crackers and crispbread market, by value and volume, 2013/14 and 2014/15
                                                                                  • Belvita benefits from extensions to its product range
                                                                                    • Figure 23: Leading brands in the cereal bars and breakfast biscuits market, by value and volume, 2013/14 and 2014/15
                                                                                • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                  • Decline in total spending on advertising biscuits
                                                                                    • Figure 24: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure on biscuits, short bread, crackers/crisp breads, breadsticks/savoury and cereal bars/breakfast biscuits, 2012-15
                                                                                    • Figure 25: Share of recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure on biscuits, short bread, crackers/crisp breads, breadsticks/savoury and cereal bars/breakfast biscuits, by segment, 2012-15
                                                                                  • Advertising dominated by three companies
                                                                                      • Figure 26: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure on biscuits, short bread, crackers/crisp breads, breadsticks/savoury and cereal bars/breakfast biscuits, by top advertisers, 2012-15
                                                                                    • Oreo and McVitie’s the most advertised sweet biscuit brands
                                                                                      • Figure 27: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure on sweet biscuits and short bread, by leading brands by spend, 2015
                                                                                    • Savoury biscuits focus on snack versatility
                                                                                      • Figure 28: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure on savoury biscuits, by leading brands, 2015
                                                                                    • Belvita leads advertising in breakfast biscuits
                                                                                      • Figure 29: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure on cereal bars and breakfast biscuits, by leading brands, 2015
                                                                                  • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                    • Increased NPD activity in cereal and energy bars
                                                                                      • Figure 30: New product launches in the UK biscuits, cookies and crackers market, share by sub-category, January 2011-December 2015
                                                                                    • Retailers account for four in ten sweet biscuit launches
                                                                                      • Figure 31: New product launches in the UK sweet biscuits/cookies market, share by top 15 companies*, January 2011-December 2015
                                                                                    • Expanding range of flavours in cookies
                                                                                      • Figure 32: Examples of own-label product launches in the UK sweet biscuits/cookies market, 2015
                                                                                    • DeliChoc arrives from continental Europe
                                                                                      • Belvita expands breakfast biscuits range
                                                                                          • Figure 33: Examples of branded launches in breakfast biscuits in the UK sweet biscuits/cookies market, 2015
                                                                                        • Making more of absence of additives and preservatives
                                                                                          • Figure 34: New product launches in the UK sweet biscuits/cookies market, share by top 15 claims*, January 2011-December 2015
                                                                                        • Savoury biscuits/crackers sees fragmented launch activity
                                                                                          • Figure 35: Examples of own-label product launches in the UK savoury biscuits/crackers market, 2015
                                                                                        • New look packaging for Jacob’s part of UB’s masterbrand strategy
                                                                                          • Figure 36: Examples of branded product launches and relaunches by Ryvita in the UK savoury biscuits/crackers market, 2015
                                                                                        • Blurring of boundaries between savoury biscuits and crisps
                                                                                          • Figure 37: New product launches in the UK savoury biscuits/crackers market, share by top 15 companies*, January 2011-December 2015
                                                                                        • More ‘better for you’ claims in savoury biscuits
                                                                                          • Figure 38: New product launches in the UK savoury biscuits/crackers market, share by top 15 claims*, January 2011-December 2015
                                                                                        • Fewer own-label launches in snack/cereal/energy bars
                                                                                          • Cereal bars adopt flavours from sweet treats
                                                                                            • Figure 39: Examples of new flavours in the UK snack/cereal/energy bars, 2015
                                                                                            • Figure 40: New product launches in the UK snack/cereal/energy bars, share by top 15 companies*, January 2011-December 2015
                                                                                          • Healthy claims continue to grow in cereal/snack bars
                                                                                            • More cereal bars preparing for possible sugar backlash
                                                                                              • Figure 41: New product launches in the UK snack/cereal/energy bars, share by top 15 claims, January 2011-December 2015
                                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                            • No sign of people cutting back on eating biscuits
                                                                                              • More people eating lighter biscuits and cereal bars
                                                                                                • Sweet biscuits eaten most as a snack between meals at home
                                                                                                  • Linking other foods to savoury and breakfast biscuits
                                                                                                    • Indulgent sweet biscuits most likely to encourage trading up
                                                                                                      • Increasing the eating of biscuits for particular occasions
                                                                                                        • Extending biscuit brands into other categories
                                                                                                          • Concerns about sugar yet to impact sales
                                                                                                            • Savoury biscuits can appeal as a healthier snack option
                                                                                                            • Frequency of Eating Different Types of Biscuits

                                                                                                              • Everyone eats biscuits
                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Types of biscuits, cookies, crackers and cereal bars eaten in the last three months, December 2014 and December 2015
                                                                                                              • No sign of people cutting back on sweet biscuits
                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Frequency of eating biscuits, cookies, crackers and cereal bars, by type, December 2015
                                                                                                              • Men less likely than women to eat savoury biscuits
                                                                                                                • Breakfast biscuits and cereal bars appeal for on-the-go eating
                                                                                                                • Occasions for Eating Biscuits

                                                                                                                  • Sweet biscuits help to fill gap between meals
                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Occasions for eating different types of biscuits, December 2015
                                                                                                                  • Making more of sweet biscuits with hot drinks
                                                                                                                    • Breakfast biscuits not just eaten at breakfast
                                                                                                                      • Savoury biscuits eaten most as a snack between meals
                                                                                                                      • Factors Encouraging Buyers to Pay More for Sweet Biscuits

                                                                                                                        • Voluminous fillings and coatings seen most widely as worth a premium
                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Factors that would encourage buyers to pay more for sweet biscuits, December 2015
                                                                                                                        • A fifth willing to pay more for premium ingredients
                                                                                                                          • Freshness adds to the appeal of sweet biscuits
                                                                                                                            • Little willingness to pay more for healthier and ethical ingredients
                                                                                                                              • British ingredients can also help to add value
                                                                                                                              • Interest in Trying Different Types of Biscuit Products

                                                                                                                                • Interest in alternatives to refined sugar
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Interest in trying different types of biscuit products, December 2015
                                                                                                                                • Making more of having biscuits with coffee
                                                                                                                                  • Catering for a range of eating occasions with mini packs
                                                                                                                                    • Room for wider range of fillings, textures and biscuit coatings
                                                                                                                                      • Extending biscuit brands into other product categories
                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Biscuits

                                                                                                                                        • Concern about sugar in biscuits but little impact on sales
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Attitudes towards biscuits, December 2015
                                                                                                                                        • Artificial ingredients a majority concern
                                                                                                                                          • Savoury biscuits seen as healthier than sweet biscuits
                                                                                                                                            • Crackers appeal beyond cheese and biscuits
                                                                                                                                              • Plenty of potential for premium biscuits as gifts
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                    • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet and savoury biscuits, breakfast biscuits, cereal/snack bars, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK retail volume sales of sweet and savoury biscuits, breakfast biscuits, cereal/snack bars, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of sweet biscuits, 2010-20
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail volume sales of sweet biscuits, 2010-20
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of savoury biscuits, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail volume sales of savoury biscuits, crackers, crispbread and rice cakes, 2010-20
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail value sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2010-20
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Best- and worst-case forecast of total UK retail volume sales of breakfast biscuits and cereal/snack bars, 2010-20
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: UK retail volume sales of sweet and savoury biscuits, cereal/snack bars and breakfast biscuits, by segment, 2014 and 2015
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: UK retail volume sales of sweet and savoury biscuits, cereal bars and breakfast biscuits, by segment, 2014 and 2015
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the sweet biscuits market, by value and volume, 2013/14 and 2014/15
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the savoury biscuits, crackers and crispbread market, by value and volume, 2013/14 and 2014/15
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Leading manufacturers’ sales in the cereal bars and breakfast biscuits market, by value and volume, 2013/14 and 2014/15
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: New product launches in the UK biscuits, cookies, crackers and snack/cereal bars market, branded vs private label share by category, January-December 2015

                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                    To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                    Biscuits, Cookies and Crackers - UK - March 2016

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