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US Snack, Nutrition and Performance Bars market report

"Dollar sales of snack, nutrition, and performance bars grew in 2015, continuing the steady, though lackluster, pace seen over the past few years. Products in the category hit the mark in appealing to both the health and snack interests of consumers – viewed as a convenient contribution to healthy lifestyles. However, competition from other categories challenges stronger growth. Bars may be taking a backseat as snack options abound, along with food/drinks claiming functional benefits. Mintel predicts the slow and steady growth will continue through 2020."
-Beth Bloom, Senior Food & Drink Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Bar sales grow by 26% from 2010-15
  • 57% of consumers purchase bars, snack bars rule
  • Bars compete with growing array of snack options

For the purposes of this Report, snack, nutrition, and performance bars are covered as per the following definitions:

  • Snack bars: Cereal and snack bars, such as Nutri-Grain; and granola bars, such as Nature Valley.
  • Nutrition bars: Health/nutrition bars, including food bars that contain additional nutrients, such as fiber, protein (nonathletic), calcium, etc; also includes bars positioned as meal replacements (nonweight loss). Includes Balance, Quest, and others.
  • Performance bars: Athletic bars used for fuel during athletic endeavors or to enhance physical fitness or exercise, such as PowerBar; includes performance-focused protein bars.
  • Weight loss bars: Bars meant for diet and weight loss/weight management, such as Slim-Fast and Zone bars.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Bar sales grow by 26% from 2010-15
            • Figure 1: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack, nutrition, and protein bars, at current prices, 2010-20
          • 57% of consumers purchase bars, snack bars rule
            • Figure 2: Bar purchase, February 2016
          • Bars compete with growing array of snack options
            • Figure 3: Food product launches featuring mention of “snack,” 2012-16*
          • The opportunities
            • Specialization may yield better results than trying to be a catchall
              • Figure 4: Opinions toward bars – Agree, February 2016
            • Natural positioning appears to resonate
              • Figure 5: Snack bar launches, by select leading claims, 2012-16*
            • On-pack messaging important among bar buyers
              • Figure 6: Information sources, February 2016
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Bar sales grew by 26% from 2010-15
                • Snack bars represent half of market share
                  • Weight loss bars stall, all other segments thrive
                    • Bars compete with growing array of snack options
                    • Market Size and Forecast

                      • Bar sales grew by 26% from 2010-15
                        • Figure 7: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack, nutrition, and protein bars, at current prices, 2010-20
                        • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, at current prices, 2010-20
                        • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack, nutrition and performance bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2010-20
                    • Market Breakdown

                      • Snack bars represent half of market share
                        • Figure 10: Total US retail sales of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, by segment, at current prices, 2015 (est)
                      • Weight loss bars stall, all other segments thrive
                        • Figure 11: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack, nutrition and performance bars, by segment, at current prices, 2010-20
                      • Largest share of category sales comes through “other” channels
                        • Exclusive offers could spur excitement
                          • Category may be a good test case for growth in online purchase
                            • Figure 12: Share of US sales of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, by retail channel, 2010-15 (est)
                        • Market Perspective

                          • Bars compete with growing array of snack options
                            • Figure 13: Food product launches featuring mention of “snack,” 2012-16*
                          • If you can’t beat ’em
                            • Figure 14: “NEW Nature Valley Cereal,” online video, February 2016
                            • Figure 15: “Introducing Clif Organic Energy Food,” online video, October 2015
                          • Other food/drinks make a play for functional deliveries
                          • Market Factors

                            • Interest in snacking is a major benefit to the category
                              • More than a third of consumers are too busy to take care of themselves
                                • Figure 16: Lifestyle statements: Attitudes/opinions toward diet/health – Agree, February 2016
                              • Only half of respondents are at a healthy weight
                                • Figure 17: BMI calculation, February 2016
                                • Figure 18: Trends in obesity prevalence among adults aged 20 and over (age-adjusted) and youth aged 2-19 years: US, 1999-2000 through 2013-14
                              • Three quarters of respondents prioritize healthy food choices
                                • Figure 19: Attitudes toward dietary health – Agree, February 2016
                              • Shift in diet patterns put the focus on healthy eating
                                • Figure 20: Methods and tools currently used for dieting, July 2015
                                • Figure 21: Attitudes toward dietary health – Agree, by generation, February 2016
                                • Figure 22: Attitudes toward dietary health – Agree, by HH income, February 2016
                              • 61% of consumers typically have a fitness goal they are working toward
                                • Figure 23: Attitudes toward physical activity – Agree, February 2016
                                • Figure 24: Attitudes toward physical activity – Agree, by generation, February 2016
                                • Figure 25: Attitudes toward physical activity – Agree, by HH income, February 2016
                              • Two thirds of consumers like to follow a plan to meet health/fitness goals
                                • Figure 26: Attitudes toward diet and physical activity – Agree – General, February 2016
                                • Figure 27: Attitudes toward diet and physical activity – Agree – General, by generation, February 2016
                                • Figure 28: Attitudes toward diet and physical activity – Agree – General, by HH income, February 2016
                              • Men have a generally higher opinion of their physical/dietary health
                                • Figure 29: Attitudes toward diet and physical activity – Agree, by gender, February 2016
                              • Three quarters of bar buyers are willing to pay more for a nutritional benefit
                                • Figure 30: Opinions toward bars – Agree, February 2016
                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                              • General Mills controls 25% of MULO sales of bars
                                • KIND posts big gains in the 52-weeks ending Jan. 24, 2016
                                  • Quest Nutrition continues strong growth
                                    • Natural positioning appears to resonate
                                      • Weight loss brands struggle, Zone benefits from nutritional positioning
                                      • Manufacturer Sales of Snack, Nutrition, and Performance Bars

                                        • General Mills controls 25% of MULO sales of bars
                                          • Manufacturer sales of snack, nutrition, and performance bars
                                            • Figure 31: Share of MULO sales of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, 52-weeks ending Jan. 24, 2016
                                          • KIND posts big gains in the 52-weeks ending Jan. 24, 2016
                                            • Figure 32: “Get to Know KIND PLUS Bars!” online video, February 2016
                                            • Figure 33: MULO sales of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2015 and 2016
                                        • What’s Working?

                                          • Natural positioning appears to resonate
                                            • Figure 34: “Nature Valley Crunchy Bar - Easier to Bite,” online video, October 2015
                                            • Figure 35: MULO sales of snack bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2014 and 2015
                                            • Figure 36: Snack bar launches, by select leading claims, 2012-16*
                                          • Quest continues strong growth
                                              • Figure 37: MULO sales of nutrition bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2014 and 2015
                                            • Clif keeps climbing
                                              • Figure 38: “Introducing Clif Organic Trail Mix Bar: Wild Blueberry Almond,” online video, August 2015
                                              • Figure 39: “Jeremy Jones’ Letter To Santa,” online video, October 2015
                                              • Figure 40: MULO sales of performance bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2014 and 2015
                                              • Figure 41: Performance bar launches, by select leading claims, 2012-16*
                                          • What’s Struggling?

                                            • Weight loss brands struggle, Zone benefits from nutritional positioning
                                              • Figure 42: MULO sales of weight loss bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2014 and 2015
                                            • Protein claims are down
                                              • Figure 43: Nutrition bar launches, by select leading claims, 2012-16*
                                              • Figure 44: Weight loss bar launches, by select leading claims, 2012-16*
                                          • What’s Next?

                                            • Category gets a flavor boost
                                              • Fruit flavors diversify offerings, lend to health
                                                • Figure 45: Nutrition bar launches, by leading flavors, 2012-16*
                                              • A focus on efficacy
                                                • Keeping function relevant
                                                  • Figure 46: Important factors to personal wellness, ranked first, October 2015
                                                  • Figure 47: “Dark Chocolate Almond Mint,” online video, April 2016
                                                  • Figure 48: “Mountain Etiquette: Soup on the Lift,” online video, March 2016
                                                  • Figure 49: Sports and fitness participation, by select activities, 2011-15
                                                • What follows protein?
                                                  • Figure 50: Natural supermarket sales of nutritional and performance drinks, by pre- and probiotics, at current prices, rolling 52-weeks ending Feb. 23, 2014 and Feb. 21, 2016
                                                • Natural nutrition
                                                  • Figure 51: Purchase factors, by bar type, February 2016
                                                  • Figure 52: Natural supermarket sales of nutrition and protein bars, by GMO ingredients, at current prices, rolling 52-weeks ending March 23, 2014 and March 20, 2016
                                                • Plant-based nutrition
                                                  • Figure 53: “Kashi #GOTOGETHER: Plant-Powered Bars,” online video, March 2015
                                                • Helping consumers help themselves
                                                  • Figure 54: “The Powerade Workout Billboards,” online video, April 2015
                                                • Strong opportunity for engagement online
                                                  • Customized health
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • 57% of consumers purchase bars, snack bars rule
                                                      • Supermarkets/mass lead purchase locations
                                                        • The majority of bar buyers do so for snacking
                                                          • Bars seen as helping with health habits
                                                            • On-pack messaging is important to bar buyers
                                                            • Bar Purchase

                                                              • 57% of consumers purchase bars, snack bars rule
                                                                • Figure 55: Bar purchase, February 2016
                                                              • Instance of bar purchase the same, but types vary by gender
                                                                • Figure 56: Bar purchase, by gender, February 2016
                                                              • Millennials appear as a key target
                                                                • Figure 57: Bar purchase, by generation, February 2016
                                                              • Specialty bars may be cost prohibitive
                                                                • Figure 58: Bar purchase, by household income, February 2016
                                                              • Parents, particularly dads, are ripe for engagement
                                                                • Figure 59: “Clif Kid: Come Out To Play,” online video, June 2015
                                                                • Figure 60: Bar purchase, by parental status, February 2016
                                                              • Hispanics are more likely to purchase bars than are non-Hispanics
                                                                • Figure 61: Bar purchase, by Hispanic origin, February 2016
                                                            • Purchase Location

                                                              • Supermarkets/mass lead purchase locations
                                                                • The category has the opportunity to nurture online sales
                                                                  • Figure 62: Purchase location, February 2016
                                                                • Snack bar buyers are particularly drawn to supermarkets/mass
                                                                  • Performance bar buyers turn to online channels
                                                                    • Figure 63: Purchase location, by bar type, February 2016
                                                                  • Men and Millennials are open to other purchase channels
                                                                    • Figure 64: Purchase location, by gender, February 2016
                                                                    • Figure 65: Purchase location, by generation, February 2016
                                                                  • General retailers can appeal for efficacy
                                                                    • Figure 66: Opinions toward nutritional and performance bars – Agree, February 2016
                                                                • Consumption Occasion

                                                                  • Majority of bar buyers do so for snacking
                                                                    • Figure 67: Consumption occasion – Any bar, February 2016
                                                                    • Figure 68: Opinions toward snack, nutrition, and performance bars – Agree, February 2016
                                                                  • Bars do well midday, opportunity to boost morning/evening consumption
                                                                    • Figure 69: “Get to Know KIND Breakfast!” online video, February 2016
                                                                    • Figure 70: Consumption occasion – Daypart, February 2016
                                                                  • Weight loss bars have strong meal association
                                                                    • Figure 71: Consumption occasion – Meal, February 2016
                                                                • Opinions toward Bars

                                                                  • Bars seen as helping with health habits
                                                                    • Figure 72: Opinions toward bars – Agree, February 2016
                                                                    • Figure 73: Opinions toward bars – Agree, February 2016
                                                                • Perceived Functional Attributes

                                                                  • Bars have their niches
                                                                    • Figure 74: Perceived functional attributes, February 2016
                                                                  • Specialization may yield better results than trying to be a catchall
                                                                    • Figure 75: Opinions toward bars – Agree, February 2016
                                                                  • A third of snack bar buyers look for indulgence, 22% look for nutrients
                                                                    • Figure 76: Perceived functional attributes – Snack bars, February 2016
                                                                  • More than a quarter of performance bar users look for indulgence
                                                                    • Figure 77: Perceived functional attributes – Performance bars, February 2016
                                                                  • Nutrition bars could stand to boost perception of nutrient delivery
                                                                    • Figure 78: Perceived functional attributes – Nutrition bars, February 2016
                                                                    • Figure 79: Perceived functional attributes – Meal replacement bars, February 2016
                                                                • Purchase Factors

                                                                  • Flavor/protein are influential in purchase decision
                                                                    • Figure 80: “Get to Know KIND Nuts & Spices Bars!” online video, February 2016
                                                                    • Figure 81: Purchase factors, February 2016
                                                                  • Protein appeals to performance bar buyers
                                                                    • Weight loss bar buyers look for nutritional elements: high fiber, low cal, low carb
                                                                      • Figure 82: Purchase factors, by bar type, February 2016
                                                                  • Information Sources

                                                                    • On-pack messaging important among bar buyers
                                                                      • Online channels provide opportunity for engagement
                                                                        • Figure 83: Information sources, February 2016
                                                                      • Weight loss bar buyers go beyond the pack
                                                                        • Figure 84: Information sources, by segment, February 2016
                                                                    • Desired Amount of Protein

                                                                        • Largest percentage of consumers looks for moderate amount of protein
                                                                          • Figure 85: Protein amount, by select activity/outcome, February 2016
                                                                      • Preferred Sources of Protein

                                                                          • Nuts rule as a preferred protein source
                                                                            • Figure 86: Preferred sources of protein, February 2016
                                                                            • Figure 87: Preferred sources of protein, by segment, February 2016
                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                            • Sales data
                                                                              • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                    • Appendix – Market

                                                                                        • Figure 88: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack bars, at current prices, 2010-20
                                                                                        • Figure 89: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2010-20
                                                                                        • Figure 90: Total US retail sales and forecast of nutrition bars, at current prices, 2010-20
                                                                                        • Figure 91: Total US retail sales and forecast of nutrition bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2010-20
                                                                                        • Figure 92: Total US retail sales and forecast of performance bars, at current prices, 2010-20
                                                                                        • Figure 93: Total US retail sales and forecast of performance bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2010-20
                                                                                        • Figure 94: Total US retail sales and forecast of weight loss bars, at current prices, 2010-20
                                                                                        • Figure 95: Total US retail sales and forecast of weight loss bars, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2010-20
                                                                                        • Figure 96: US supermarket sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars, at current prices, 2010-15
                                                                                        • Figure 97: US convenience store sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars, at current prices, 2010-15
                                                                                        • Figure 98: US sales of snack, nutrition and performance bars through other retail channels, at current prices, 2010-15
                                                                                        • Figure 99: Natural supermarket sales of nutrition and protein bars, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks March 23, 2014-March 20, 2016
                                                                                        • Figure 100: Natural supermarket sales of nutrition and protein bars, by segment, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks ending March 23, 2014 and March 20, 2016
                                                                                    • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                                        • Figure 101: MULO sales of snack, nutrition, and performance bars, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2014 and 2015
                                                                                        • Figure 102: Snack bar launches, by leading claims, 2012-16*
                                                                                        • Figure 103: Nutrition bar launches, by leading claims, 2012-16*
                                                                                        • Figure 104: Performance bar launches, by leading claims, 2012-16*
                                                                                        • Figure 105: Weight loss bar launches, by leading claims, 2012-16*
                                                                                        • Figure 106: Snack bar launches, by leading flavors, 2012-16*
                                                                                        • Figure 107: Performance bar launches, by leading flavors, 2012-16*
                                                                                        • Figure 108: Weight loss bar launches, by leading flavors, 2012-16*
                                                                                        • Figure 109: Nutrition bar launches, by leading flavors, 2012-16*
                                                                                        • Figure 110: Natural supermarket sales of nutrition and protein bars, by organic ingredients, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks ending March 23, 2014 and March 20, 2016
                                                                                        • Figure 111: Natural supermarket sales of nutrition and protein bars, by gluten-free labeling, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks ending March 23, 2014 and March 20, 2016
                                                                                        • Figure 112: Gluten-free* share of natural supermarket sales of nutrition and protein bars, by segment, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks ending March 23, 2014 and March 20, 2016
                                                                                        • Figure 113: Natural supermarket sales of nutrition and protein bars, by GMO ingredients, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks ending March 23, 2014 and March 20, 2016
                                                                                        • Figure 114: Natural supermarket sales of nutrition and protein bars, by presence of alternative sweetener, at current prices, rolling 52 weeks ending March 23, 2014 and March 20, 2016

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