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UK Consumer Snacking: Inc Impact of COVID-19 market report

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Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Consumer Snacking: Inc Impact of COVID-19 - UK market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

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Covered in this report

Snacking is ingrained and almost ubiquitous in the UK, with 94% of consumers eating snacks in the two weeks to March 2020 and 36% snacking at least twice a day. The fact that 55% of snack eaters report eating healthier main meals to allow for less healthy snacks shows the extent of their appeal. The nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak halted out-of-home snacking. However, retail sales of key snack categories enjoyed an uplift during lockdown, showing that athome snacking replaced this area of demand. The traditional mood-boosting associations of snacks have come to the fore during this uncertain period, with the category also benefiting from its role in evenings in.

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Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alice Pilkington, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Snacking continues to be an ingrained part of UK lifestyles. With COVID-19 prompting a nationwide lockdown, out-of-home snacking disappeared overnight, but the traditional associations of many snacks as offering a low-cost mood boost kept them firmly on the menu at home. Alice Pilkington
Food & Drink Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Products covered in this Report
          • COVID-19: market context
            • Economic and other assumptions
            • Executive Summary

                • The market
                  • Impact of COVID-19 on consumer snacking
                    • Figure 1: Expected impact of COVID-19 on consumer snacking, short, medium and long term, 17 July 2020
                  • Large players are better placed to weather disruption from COVID-19
                    • Snacks will not escape value scrutiny
                      • Public health attracts an even bigger spotlight since COVID-19 outbreak
                        • The market
                          • Snacks see some success in reformulation but look likely to miss 2020 sugar targets
                            • Sugar continues to be targeted but campaigners urge a switch of focus to calories
                              • End of Brexit transition period brings further uncertainty for category
                                • Companies and brands
                                  • Sugar reduction remains firmly on the NPD agenda
                                    • Figure 2: Share of launches in the UK snack market featuring sugar-related claims, 2015-May 2020
                                  • Vegan claims continue to boom in snack launches
                                    • Protein and fibre claims gain further ground in NPD
                                      • Adspend on snacks stands at £230 million
                                        • Brands respond quickly to COVID-19 in marketing
                                          • ‘Me time’, irresistibility and targeting adults continue
                                            • The consumer
                                              • Snacking is almost universal and the majority eat a wide variety of snacks
                                                • Figure 3: Types of snacks eaten, March 2020
                                              • Over two thirds snack at least once a day
                                                • Figure 4: Frequency of snacking, March 2020
                                              • Home snacking will become even more pertinent post COVID-19
                                                • Figure 5: Where snacks are eaten, March 2020
                                              • Taste is top priority in snacks
                                                • Figure 6: Factors prioritised when choosing between different types of snacks, March 2020
                                              • Two in five look for healthy snacks all or most of the time
                                                • Figure 7: How often people look for a healthy snack, March 2020
                                              • No clear winner in terms of health priorities
                                                • Figure 8: What people look for in a healthy snack, March 2020
                                              • Nearly two thirds find snacks of British origin appealing, while environmental concerns around packaging are important for half
                                                • Figure 9: Behaviours related to snacks, March 2020
                                              • Nearly two thirds see positives in traffic light labelling
                                                • Figure 10: Attitudes towards snacks, March 2020
                                              • What we think
                                              • The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Snacking

                                                • The market
                                                  • Much of out-of-home snacking disappears overnight due to lockdown
                                                    • A permanent increase in home working may impact snack priorities
                                                      • Public health attracts an even bigger spotlight since COVID-19 outbreak
                                                        • COVID-19 recession could benefit snacking
                                                          • The consumer
                                                            • COVID-19 sees mood boost effect of snacks become even more relevant
                                                              • Consumers take more interest in healthy eating since COVID-19 outbreak
                                                                • COVID-19 sees consumers place food hygiene above packaging waste
                                                                  • Ethical credentials likely to gain relevance post COVID-19
                                                                    • Snacks of British origin could tap into COVID-19 community spirit
                                                                      • Companies and brands
                                                                        • Large players are better placed to weather disruption from COVID-19
                                                                          • Brands respond quickly to COVID-19 in marketing
                                                                            • Snacks will not escape value scrutiny
                                                                            • Issues and Insights

                                                                              • COVID-19 will make snacking at home even more important
                                                                                • The facts
                                                                                  • The implications
                                                                                    • Snacks with a British origin could gain relevance post COVID-19 and Brexit
                                                                                      • The facts
                                                                                        • The implications
                                                                                          • Environmental concerns around packaging are important for half
                                                                                            • The facts
                                                                                              • The implications
                                                                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                • Snacks see some success in reformulation but look likely to miss 2020 sugar targets
                                                                                                  • Sugar continues to be targeted but campaigners urge a switch of focus to calories
                                                                                                    • End of Brexit transition period brings further uncertainty for category
                                                                                                      • Most frequent snackers will be hit hardest by economic downturn
                                                                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                                                                        • Public health attracts an even bigger spotlight since COVID-19 outbreak
                                                                                                          • Snacks see some success in reformulation but look likely to miss 2020 sugar targets
                                                                                                            • Figure 11: Percentage of sugar reduction achieved across selected categories within PHE’s sugar reduction and reformulation programme, 2015-18*
                                                                                                          • Sugar continues to be a focal point for consumers…
                                                                                                            • …but campaigners urge a switch of focus to excessive calories
                                                                                                              • National Food Strategy prompts calls for lower salt
                                                                                                                • Action on Sugar and Action on Salt suggest new plan for tackling obesity in light of COVID-19
                                                                                                                  • Government looks to ‘junk food’ advertising ban to combat childhood obesity
                                                                                                                    • Blue Planet II draws attention to packaging waste
                                                                                                                      • COVID-19 sees consumers place food hygiene above packaging waste
                                                                                                                        • WWF report suggests human impact on the environment led to COVID-19
                                                                                                                          • Palm oil was on people’s radars pre-COVID-19, while vegan diets gain appeal
                                                                                                                            • Large players better placed to weather COVID-19 disruption, while end of Brexit transition period brings further uncertainty
                                                                                                                              • End of Brexit transition brings added uncertainty to 2021
                                                                                                                                • COVID-19 sees mood boost effect of snacks become even more relevant
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 12: Changes to how often consumers have been eating treats since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, by age and gender, 23 April-7 May 2020
                                                                                                                                • COVID-19 recession could benefit snacking
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 13: Trends in consumer confidence for the coming year, January 2009-June 2020
                                                                                                                                • Evenings in provide more potential snacking occasions to tap into
                                                                                                                                  • Snacks will not escape value scrutiny
                                                                                                                                    • Most frequent snackers will be hit hardest by economic downturn
                                                                                                                                    • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                      • Sugar reduction remains firmly on the NPD agenda
                                                                                                                                        • Vegan claims continue to boom
                                                                                                                                          • Protein claims gain further ground
                                                                                                                                            • Adspend on snacks stands at £230 million
                                                                                                                                              • Brands respond quickly to COVID-19 in marketing
                                                                                                                                                • ‘Me time’, irresistibility and targeting adults continue as marketing themes
                                                                                                                                                • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                  • Range extensions fuel launch activity
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 14: Launch type trends in the UK snack market, January 2015-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Sugar reduction remains firmly on the NPD agenda
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 15: Share of launches in the UK snack market featuring sugar-related claims, 2015-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Reduced sugar variants for Cadbury Dairy Milk and KitKat
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 16: Examples of reduced sugar chocolate launches, 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Leading biscuit and cake players cut sugar
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 17: Examples of low/no/reduced sugar launches in the UK sweet biscuits, breakfast biscuits and cake markets, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                  • Snack bars and yogurts avoid added sugar
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Examples of low/no/reduced sugar launches in the UK snack bars market, 2019-2020
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 19: Examples of low/no/reduced sugar launches in the UK yogurt market, 2019-2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Protein claims continue to grow
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Share of launches in the UK snack market featuring high/added protein claims, 2015-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Snack/cereal/energy bars lead in the protein space
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Examples of high/added protein launches in the UK snack bars market, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                  • Other high in protein snacks
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Examples of high/added protein launches in the UK snack market, 2019-2020
                                                                                                                                                  • High/added fibre remains area for further exploration
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Share of launches in the UK snack market featuring high/added fibre claims, 2015-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Examples of high/added fibre launches in the UK snack market, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                  • Vegan claims continue to boom
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Share of launches in the UK snack market featuring vegan claims, 2015-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Nestle and Premier Food launch vegan treats
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Galaxy vegan chocolate and Plantastic cake launches in the UK, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                  • Cheese-flavoured and ‘meat’ snacks go vegan
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Examples of snack launches with vegan cheese in the UK, 2019-2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Companies are taking steps to tackle plastic waste
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Share of launches in the UK snack market featuring vegan claims, 2015-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Nestlé launches snack bars in paper wrapper, Walkers reduces plastic and Asda redesigns Easter eggs
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Examples of environmentally friendly packaging in the UK snack market, 2019-2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Savoury and herb flavours appear in less typical categories
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Examples of herb flavour launches in the UK snack market, 2019-2020
                                                                                                                                                • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                  • Adspend on snacks stands at £230 million
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on sweet and savoury snacks, 2019-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                  • Environmental friendliness comes to fore for Yes! Bar
                                                                                                                                                    • Brands use humour to target their ‘grown-up’ audience
                                                                                                                                                      • Calling out that healthy can be delicious is big in yogurt
                                                                                                                                                        • Permissive indulgence explored by Müller
                                                                                                                                                          • The pleasure and respite offered by snacks continues to be explored
                                                                                                                                                            • Galaxy looks to giving modern women a break
                                                                                                                                                              • Walkers emphasises irresistibility…
                                                                                                                                                                • High profile popstars help spread Walkers’ message…
                                                                                                                                                                  • …whilst the brand suggests parents hide snacks to enjoy them without their kids
                                                                                                                                                                    • …and Biscoff taps into it too
                                                                                                                                                                      • Cadbury partners with Age UK to tackle loneliness
                                                                                                                                                                        • Brands respond quickly to COVID-19
                                                                                                                                                                          • Maltesers tries to encourage people to ‘Look on the Light Side’ of lockdown
                                                                                                                                                                            • Walkers and Haribo encourage people to recreate their adverts at home
                                                                                                                                                                              • Cadbury looks to capture the community spirit wrought by COVID-19
                                                                                                                                                                                • KitKat and Pringles target the online gaming community…
                                                                                                                                                                                  • …whilst Cadbury and Maynard Bassetts promise exciting football prizes
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Snacking is almost universal and the majority eat a wide variety
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Over two thirds snack at least once a day
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Home snacking will become even more pertinent post COVID-19
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Taste is top priority in snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Two in five look for healthy snacks all or most of the time
                                                                                                                                                                                                • No clear winner in terms of health priorities
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Nearly two thirds find snacks of British origin appealing
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Environmental concerns around packaging are important for half
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Nearly two thirds see positives in traffic light labelling
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Interest in spices in sweet snacks and calming ingredients suggest areas for NPD
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Types of Snacks Eaten

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Snacking is almost universal
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Types of snacks eaten, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Chocolate, crisps and fruit remain the most popular snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Most snacks see higher usage amongst younger demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pricier snacks are at risk in recession
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Difference between age groups is less marked in savoury snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Majority eat a wide variety of snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Repertoire of types of snacks eaten, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Frequency of Snacking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Over two thirds snack at least once a day
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Frequency of snacking, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Busy society provides opportunities and reasons to snack
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Younger demographics snack the most frequently
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Where Snacks Are Eaten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Home is the most common place to snack
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Where snacks are eaten, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • COVID-19 is making snacking at home even more important
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Evenings in are a key occasion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Snacking in the workplace was well-established pre COVID-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • A permanent increase in working from home may impact snack priorities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Single-portion formats will need to look beyond portability to remain relevant despite less on-the-go snacking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Choice Factors of Snacks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Taste is top priority in snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Even healthy snackers give much weight to taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Factors prioritised when choosing between different types of snacks, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Over 4 in 10 look for convenience
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Health is prioritised by over a third
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Role of Healthiness in Snack Choice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Two in five look for healthy snacks all or most of the time
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: How often people look for a healthy snack, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • More awareness needed around how snacks impact healthiness of diet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • COVID-19 makes health a bigger priority
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • What People Look For in a Healthy Snack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • No clear winner in health priorities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: What people look for in a healthy snack, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Low sugar leads, with low fat close behind
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • More reduced sugar products will build visibility of proposition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Low fat claims continue to be relevant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Behaviours Related to Snacks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Nearly two thirds find snacks of British origin appealing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Behaviours related to snacks, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Regional ingredients and local origin are established selling points for smaller brands and own-label
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Recent examples of smaller crisps brands drawing attention to their regional ingredients, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Own-label products drawing attention to regional ingredients, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Walkers’ regional focus can offer inspiration for larger brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Local and regional focus warrants attention in all snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Scope to highlight local production and people behind the brand
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunities for snack concepts tapping into meal replacement occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Weetabix on the go strawberry breakfast drink, 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Snack bars could benefit from emphasising their balanced nutrition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Recent examples of snack bars with nutritionally balanced propositions, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Environmental concerns around packaging are important for half
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Smaller brands lead innovation but bigger brands follow suit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Recent examples of paper and compostable packaging in snacks, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Recent examples of big brands outlining the environmental credentials of their packaging, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • COVID-19 sees the environment become a higher priority for some, but the hygiene of products is paramount
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Attitudes Towards Snacks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nearly two thirds see positives in traffic light labelling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Attitudes towards snacks, March 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Traffic light labelling would prove challenging for dried fruit snacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Recent examples of snack bars detailing the simplicity of their ingredients, 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Traffic light labelling could be used in marketing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Boka cereal bar uses four green traffic lights as a central proposition, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Endorsement from health authorities could strengthen healthy image
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Interest in spices in sweet snacks and calming ingredients suggests areas for NPD
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Spices in sweet snacks can take inspiration from interest in botanical drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Examples of sweet snacks with spice flavours, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ingredients with calming association will gain relevance due to COVID-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Traditional ‘calming’ ingredients make an appearance in various snack categories
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Nooro lemon & ginger vegan oat bar containing CBD, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Interesting flavours can create talking points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • US can offer cues for new ‘swavoury’ flavours
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Recent examples of ‘swavoury’ combinations in snacks in the US, 2019-20
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix- Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: New product launches* in the UK snacks market, by subcategory, 2015-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: New Variety/Range Extension launches in the UK snacks market, by subcategory, 2015-May 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Share of product launches with sugar-related claims in the UK yogurt market, 2015-May 2020

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      About the report

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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